As you know, German language includes many phrases in disguise which can cause confusion for some learners. The following sentence is an example:

Mir ist langweilig (instead of Ich bin langweilig)

Examining the above sentence leads me to the conclusion that something has caused someone to get bored because mir is a dative pronoun. I guess something like this:

Bei mir, die Situation ist langweilig.

Could it be something like the above sentence?


4 Answers 4


I would say that the complete form is "Mir ist es langweilig," or (subject first) "Es ist mir langweilig." Use of the dative "mir" in this context implies that it's relative to your point of view, so there's no need for "bei". The "es" is the impersonal "es", and it's meaning as "the situation" is also implied by context. The impersonal "es" can often be dropped and usually is when it can be; it's function is mostly to be a grammatical placeholder for a subject when a subject really isn't needed for the meaning. English has a similar impersonal "it" though it's usage is somewhat different and it can't be dropped in English.

The reason I started with "I would say" is that that's how I interpret it, and I know there are other interpretations such as the one given in the previous answer. To me, "es" as the subject explains why "sein" is conjugated in the third person singular.

I'd add that you're looking at the sentence from an English speaker's point of view. Every language has it's own way of dealing with situations that don't quite fit the most common grammatical pattern. I'd also note that if you try to phrase it as in English, "Ich bin langweilig," it means "I'm boring," which is probably not what you want to say.

  • We had a mention of the dative some time ago, remember?
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 7:21
  • @tofro - We do seem to repeatedly cover the same material here. I wouldn't argue if the question was closed as a duplicate, but I guess the question is just different enough to stay open.
    – RDBury
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 15:22

Not all clauses in German have nominative subjects. Such clauses are sometimes called "impersonal". One group of verbs that create impersonal clauses describe a state in which someone feels something. The one who feels something ("experiencer") may occur in a case other than nominative - this is actually found in a number of different languages with case forms. So "mir ist langweilig" is roughly the same as "ich habe Langeweile", and note that the subject of the verb "to have" corresponds to a dative in a number of languages (one such language I know is Latin). Other constructions of this type are: "mir ist bang" (I am afraid), "mir ist schlecht" (I feel sick), "mir graut davor" (I have a horror of it).


Btw. "Die Situation ist langweilig" would not mean the same thing (and it sounds a bit odd to me). It would mean an objective statement about the kind of situation. But "mir ist langweilig" is a statement about my feeling. -- Yes, it is also possible to say "mir ist es langweilig" but this is definitely not needed, and es is a dummy pronoun that doesn't refer to anything.

  • "It would mean an objective statement about the kind of situation." - I don't quite understand that assessment. "Der Film ist langweilig." is most definitely a very subjective statement, and the person sitting next to me might come to a very different conclusion. Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 5:19

Your problems perhaps come from the fact that "to bore" is an activity (and hence a verb) in English while "langweilig" is a property (and hence an Adverb) in German. In English someone is bored (by something), in German something is boring or in a state of being bored.

Mir ist langweilig.

means "I am (feeling) bored", similar to constructions like "I am cold", which would be "mir ist kalt" in German. The Subjekt of these sentences is an (only implied) "es":

Mir ist es langweilig.
Mir ist es kalt.

There is actually

Ich bin langweilig.

too, but that is a false friend: you ascribe yourself the property of being "langweilig" and this doesn't mean you are bored but boring!

  • I think ich bin langweilig means something like I have a boring personality or people find me boring! Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 18:45
  • 1
    @NarimanAsgharian: yes! Exactly what I wrote: "this doesn't mean you are bored but boring!" If that is just the impression of others or due to your personality or any other reason is not said.
    – bakunin
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 21:15
  • For what it's worth, "to bore" is an activity in German, as well - "langweilen". And, directly derived from this, you can very well say "Ich bin gelangweilt." However, differently from English, "gelangweilt" is mostly referring to a particular cause, e.g. "Ich bin durch den Vortrag gelangweilt.", "Ich bin vom Film gelangweilt.", where for the general feeling of boredom due to no particular cause, most German speakers would opt toward "Mir ist langweilig." Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 5:16

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