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What is the reason for the dative pronoun mir in this sentence?

Bevor ich schlafen gehe, stelle ich mir meine Schuhe und meine Hose so vor das Bett, wie es richtige Feuerwehrleute tun.

From the children's book: "Ich hab einen Freund, der ist Feuerwehrmann" by Ralf Butschkow (Pub. Carlsen Verlag 2002, Copyright Carlsen Verlag GmbH, Hamburg 2015)

sich stellen translates to confront, surrender or turn oneself in, which do not make sense in this context. Stellen, to put, does - but where does the need for a reflexive pronoun come in?

Edit: I'm aware of the use of mir with reflexive actions, e.g. Ich wasche mir die Hände / Ich putze mir die Zähne but I'm not sure how the action of putting something on the floor mirrors these kind of actions.

Thanks!

  • I'm used to using the dative pronoun with verbs that affect the person - washing, shaving, dressing, etc - and I can see the relevance here as they are things that one does to oneself. But putting something on the floor is an action that is done to other objects and not to oneself - hence my confusion. – Jonathon Apr 30 at 7:18
  • I assumed you would find the top-voted answer there useful nevertheless. Another rewarding search term is Dativus Commodi, used to indicate who will benefit from this action. – guidot Apr 30 at 10:09
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    Dativus Commodi was a more fruitful avenue - having read around it I guess the equivalent English translation to show advantage would be I lay my shoes and trousers out for myself... – Jonathon Apr 30 at 14:59
  • NB: Freund instead of Fruend and GmbH instead of GmBH (typos in question) – amadeusamadeus May 5 at 10:53
  • By the way: Seine Hose vors Bett stellen isn't correct from my point of view since stellen means to make sth. stand. It should read Schuhe vors Bett stellen and Hose vors Bett legen (legen meaning to make sth. lie) – amadeusamadeus May 5 at 10:58
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Just leave the „mir“ out and see where it gets you:

Bevor ich schlafen gehe, stelle ich [mir] meine Schuhe und meine Hose so vor das Bett, wie es richtige Feuerwehrleute tun.

Meaning:

Before going to sleep I put my shoes and throwsers in front of my bed as real fireman do

The „mir“ is an addition to stress: I do it for me...

Before going to sleep I put my shoes and throwsers in front of my bed for me as real firemen do

So: I do this for me to use them when I have to get up quickly, same as fireman do.

Hope that helps.

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The pronoun mir does not, as @Torsten Link's answer suggests, only stress that you do something for you, but it actually specifies for whom you do this. To see the difference, let's have a look at two similar example sentences:

  1. Bevor ich schlafen gehe, stelle ich mir Milch vor das Bett.
  2. Bevor ich schlafen gehe, stelle ich Milch vor das Bett. (Meine Katze wird sich freuen.)

In the first example, it is specified that the milk is definitely for me. If it were only a stress, you could omit the pronoun mir without changing the meaning. However, in the second example, the milk is actually meant for the cat, as you can infer from the context sentence in parenthesis. That is, the meaning of the second example sentence is different from that of the first.

The same applies to your example sentence

Bevor ich schlafen gehe, stelle ich mir meine Schuhe und meine Hose so vor das Bett, wie es richtige Feuerwehrleute tun.

The pronoun mir makes clear that I do it for me and excludes the possibility that I do it for someone else.

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  • Thank you. Is it used purely in a reflexive sense i.e. stelle ich mir ... or could it be used with a different pronoun for emphasis - say for example I put milk by the bed for you - stelle ich dir Milch vor das Bett? – Jonathon May 6 at 16:58
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    The dative object can be anybody or anything: mir, dir, euch, der Katze, dem Weihnachtsmann, ... – Björn Friedrich May 6 at 17:55

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