The phrase "meinen Befehlen" which means "my order" is used in a sentence from the movie Untergang.

From other sentences I know "mein" means "my" and "Befehl" means "order" without the "-en" at the end of both words.

I tried to search up what the "-en" mean by Googling but it seems the suffix has like 10 different usages. I would guess "Befehlen" means plural form of "Befehl" but I am not really sure, and I have no idea why "meinen" is here instead of "mein".

Might be a stupid question but this comes from one with no prior knowledge of the German language. The transcript might be wrong so if this phrase does not make sense with the "-en" please let me know as well.

Any help will be appreciated.

Edit: As required in the comment, the whole sentence is the following:

"Wer sind Sie, dass Sie es wagen, sich meinen Befehlen zu widersetzen?".

My confusion is on

  1. is "Befehlen" the plural form of "Befehl" or does it mean something else?
  2. what's the difference if "mein" is used instead of "meinen"?
  • Meinen Befehlen is Dative of meine Befelhle. You should at least post a whole sentence when asking for meaning.
    – Olafant
    Oct 11, 2020 at 13:56
  • @Olafant I have edited the post to include the whole sentence and clarify my question.
    – cr001
    Oct 11, 2020 at 14:19
  • 3
    Welcome to German.SE. As you might have overseen in Olafant's comment, he wrote "Meinen Befehlen" instead of "meinen befehlen". The difference makes the word class: noun or verb. And your example goes to "noun". While you translate it correct with "order" instead of "to order"/"to command", I've just the feeling that your confusion with your search results starts here. Because I'd expect some conjugation table as solution. With cases and stuff. Oct 11, 2020 at 15:34
  • @ShegitBrahm He also wrote Befelhle.
    – xehpuk
    Oct 12, 2020 at 3:18
  • 1
    @ShegitBrahm It's in the first comment. Oct 13, 2020 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


First of all: to figure out the meaning by using translation apps, you need to take care of right spelling. In German there is a big difference between befehlen and Befehlen. The former is a verb. The latter is a noun. As I can tell from your question, you know it's a noun here. The sentence that you are asking about is:

Wer sind Sie, dass Sie es wagen, sich meinen Befehlen zu widersetzen?

You see, there is already more than one problem here. That's why I really doubt, that learning from subtitles is a good idea. At least it should be subtitles of very high quality then.

The whole sentence

Wer sind Sie, dass Sie es wagen, sich meinen Befehlen zu widersetzen?

means something like

Who are you, to dare to defy my orders.

So: meinen Befehlen translates to my orders here. But now you are trying to find out, why there is an -en in meinen and Befehlen by searching for the the meaning of that suffix. And that shows very clearly, that your approach is kind of hairy.

It's about cases of objects.

Meinen Befehlen is dative of meine Befehle. Meine Befehle is plural of mein Befehl.

Sich zu widersetzen means to defy 1, and the object my order or whatever it is that someone is defying, has to be in dative case. 2

1 literal meaning is something like to counter-set oneself 2
2 thanks to @HalvarF for pointing that out in the comments.

  • 2
    Thank you for explaining about the cases. I think I now understand it now. "meine Befehle" is the plural form of "mein Befehl", and the "n" at the end is there because of the sentence structure where the phrase is placed. Could you at least tell me if I am correct or not?
    – cr001
    Oct 11, 2020 at 17:32
  • 2
    That's correct. "sich zu widersetzen" means "to defy" (literal meaning is something like "to counter-set oneself"), and the object "my order"or whatever it is that someone is defying, has to be in dative case.
    – HalvarF
    Oct 11, 2020 at 17:59
  • Thank you so much.
    – cr001
    Oct 11, 2020 at 18:58
  • @cr001 You're right. Please see my edit.
    – Olafant
    Oct 11, 2020 at 20:33
  • 1
    @HalvarF Thanks for poining that out. I added it into the answer so it doesn't get lost.
    – Olafant
    Oct 11, 2020 at 20:34

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