I have heard the following sentence in the German TV series "How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)":

  • Schnapp ihn dir, Papa!

Context: a police officer has just received an anonymous tip about a drug dealer at his home and his daughter says the sentence above.

"Schnapp ihn, Papa" means "get/catch him, dad", but I don't understand what the dative pronoun "dir" expresses in this sentence. I would literally translate it to "Get/catch him for you, dad", but that sounds odd. Or is "sich schnappen" just a synonym of "schnappen" ?

1 Answer 1


Your assumption is correct that we are dealing with the reflexive form sich etw./jmdn. schnappen. It is roughly a synonym of the plain etw./jmdn. schnappen, but it puts emphasis on the catcher of the thing/person getting caught. (In cases where the final receiver of the caught thing/person is not the catcher, one would rather not use the reflexive form.)

  • See DWDS. Verbs that take reflexive dative pronouns are unusual but still frequent enough to learn their grammar. According to my notes another one is ausdenken.
    – RDBury
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 19:18

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