How would you say "I am being X" in german. For example, how would I translate this: "What is Bruce Wayne doing?" "He is being Batman"

So far, one translation would be: "Was macht Bruce Wayne" "Er ist Batman"

However, this would translate back into English as "He is batman", which is slightly different from "He is being Batman". The difference is that although Bruce Wayne IS Batman, he is not always being Batman unless he is out fighting crime.

Some ideas I have: "Er verhält sich wie Batman" (He acts like batman)

2 Answers 2


The German language just doesn't have the same aspect system English has (in fact, it marks relative time and certain narrative usages, and not aspect).

The consequence of this is that, among other things, English progressives cannot be simply translated to German tenses. You have to use different verbs, or add adverbs or particles to convey the intended difference (or in certain cases something like the am-Progressiv or "Rheinische Verlaufsform", which is a more recently developing aspectual syntax, but rather colloquial).

In this case, @eslukas' suggestion er ist gerade Batman is perfectly fitting and natural.

  • I have also heard "Er ist am Batman sein", but I don't know what this would be called, and it is most likely a wrong. But I have heard it, multiple times. Jun 16, 2023 at 12:47
  • @323242323242 this is exactly the am-Progressiv. To me it sounds unusual in this phrase, though. Jun 19, 2023 at 7:27
  • Well "Frausein" is even listen in Duden. "Batman-sein" or "Batmansein" is not far fetched then? Jun 19, 2023 at 8:24
  • That's not the problem. I find the usage of sein with am weird. But I can't really justify my perception. Jun 19, 2023 at 12:53

I would also say "Er verhält sich wie Batman" or maybe "Er ist gerade Batman" to highlight the fact that the property BEING BATMAN only applies to the current situation, but the former sounds more correct.

  • "Er ist gerade Batman" is good. The other suggestions means "he is behaving like Batman" which isn't the intended meaning.
    – wonderbear
    Jun 16, 2023 at 10:33

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