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Could you please tell me if both these sentences express that "The phone fell out of my pocket":

Das Handy fiel mir aus der Tasche.

Das Handy fiel aus meiner Tasche heraus.

And if both these sentences express that "I (accidently) dropped the phone":

Mir ist das Handy heruntergefallen/hingefallen.

Das Handy fiel/glitt mir aus den Händen.

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  • To clarify (hopefully), the first sentence in each case uses a dative pronoun, and there is no equivalent construction in English. The first sentence translates literally as "The (cell)phone fell me out of the pocket," which doesn't really make sense. German does use dative pronouns in a similar way in other situations though. I don't know which versions are more natural sounding for a native German speaker though.
    – RDBury
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 7:04

1 Answer 1

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All four examples are correct German and sound natural.

Das Handy fiel mir aus der Tasche.

literally means "The phone fell out of the pocket", plus it adds the pronoun "mir" which basically says that this happened to me and gives the sentence a subjective character.

In spoken language, you would probably use Perfekt tense ("Das Handy ist mir aus der Tasche gefallen").

Das Handy fiel aus meiner Tasche heraus.

This is a more objective account of what happened. "The phone fell out of my pocket". The word "heraus" is optional here.

Mir ist das Handy heruntergefallen/hingefallen.

"Mir" has the same function as above, it expresses that this happened to me and makes the sentence subjective. Otherwise, the sentence just says that the phone was dropped. As above, the fact that the phone is mine is only implied. Depending on the context, it could as well be a different person's phone.

Das Handy fiel/glitt mir aus den Händen.

means "the phone fell/slipped from the hands", with the same addition of "mir" as above.

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  • I would not use "hingefallen" in this context but only "heruntergefallen", or in spoken language "runtergefallen". I would use "hingefallen" mostly if a person fell down on the ground from standing/walking/running, not from high above the ground, or to emphasize that something fell to a specific place.
    – Bodo
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 15:57

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