Eng: I am good today

De: Mir geht es heute gut

Could the logic behind the word order for German sentence be explained? I have a feeling it is related to what this answer is saying.. but I can't understand what happens when we swap the reflexive pronoun and the personal pronoun here.

  • 1
    What would your answer be if being asked the other way round ("Why does English swap the pronouns?")
    – tofro
    Jan 25, 2022 at 8:48
  • 1
    An interesting question could also be whether the emphasis is on "good" or on "today": In German you could use "Heute geht es mir gut" (emphasis on "today") or "Mir geht es gut heute" or "Gut geht es mir heute" (emphasis on "good").
    – U. Windl
    Jan 25, 2022 at 13:51
  • In English this is the difference between "It's going well for me today" and "For me it's going well today" (except that the switch is even more natural in German).
    – dbmag9
    Jan 25, 2022 at 16:35

3 Answers 3


First, there is no reflexive pronoun here, so I'm not sure whether you're referring to es or mir. In any case, German word order is flexible, at least when compared with English. So pronouns can usually be swapped with the only difference in meaning being a change in emphasis. The es here is basically just a placeholder, required by the expression es gehen, so it's unlikely that it would be stressed by placing it at the start of a sentence, even though it's technically the subject. There is more to say here but I think it's covered in the answer you linked to.

  • Oh I thought mir was a reflexive pronoun since it shows the verb is acting on itself Jan 24, 2022 at 21:01
  • How would this sentence mean different to Es geht mir heute gut Jan 24, 2022 at 21:02
  • No difference in meaning Jan 24, 2022 at 21:06

As @RDBury already wrote, word order is quite flexible in German. The word order Es geht mir heute gut is just as valid as the given sentence.

In typical German statement, it is possible to place almost any of the sentence parts in first position for emphasis. So by placing mir in first position, that word gets some emphasis.

Other possible word orders:

Heute geht es mir gut. (Emphasis on heute)

Gut geht es mir heute. (Unusual but valid word order with a strong emphasis on gut)


7/17/23: I realize that there is one detail about this mentioned practically no where. When dealing with reciprocal verbs, then the verb can either be reciprocal or reflexive. So, just because it's reflexive pronoun doesn't mean it is neccesarily reflexive.

Refer here for an article on an article on reciprocal verbs

  • But sein isn't a reciprocal verb. And neither is mir used reflexively in your example. It's a personal pronoun in dative case — it tells who bears the result. A reflexive mir you could find in e.g. Ich mache mir Gedanken.
    – Janka
    Jul 17, 2023 at 10:55
  • True, but nonetheless helps one in finding general clarity Jul 17, 2023 at 10:56

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