I started studying German few months ago. I started reading "Der Nussknacker (Niveau Eins)". I found this

Ich bedanke mich

but I can not really understand what does it mean and its construction.

Why nominative + verb + accusative?

2 Answers 2


It just so happens that the accusative declination of the pronoun ich is also the reflexive pronoun for ich.

The verb which you and many other German-learners perceive to be bedanken is actually sich bedanken, indicating it is reflexive and requires a reflexive pronoun.

"Ich bedanke mich" implies that you are saying "I thank you," even though the sentence doesn't contain an object.

If you wanted to be formal, you could say:

Ich bedanke mich bei dir.

  • I updated my answer to try and give you a better understanding of what I meant. Hope this helps!
    – Dustin
    May 27, 2013 at 7:40
  • I see. But why it wants the akkusativ and not the dativ? Also why the first and not the second person akkusativ?
    – Blackbelt
    May 27, 2013 at 7:44
  • You're getting confused between pronouns and the declension of nouns. It doesn't take the accusative. It requires a reflexive pronoun. If the sentence were intended to mean "We thank you," it would be "Wir bedanken uns." Likewise, if it were intended to mean "You thank me," it would be "Du bedankst dich."
    – Dustin
    May 27, 2013 at 7:46
  • See the following articles on reflexive verbs in German: german.about.com/library/weekly/aa022601a.htm german.about.com/library/weekly/aa022601b.htm
    – Dustin
    May 27, 2013 at 7:49
  • 2
    +1, concise and easy to understand. May 27, 2013 at 11:46

It is always like:

Ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen (someone) für die Hilfe (something)

So you know that the someone (bei) is in Dativ and the something (für) is Akkusativ.

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