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I came across with the following usage example of verabreden

ich bin heute schon verabredet (1)

Dictionaries say that verabreden has the following meanings:

  • etw. verabreden - make an agreement on something
  • sich verabreden - arrange an appointment/date

The example above looks to be neither of these two: the first one doesn't match it's meaning with the context, and the second one looks to be a wrong usage of Zustandspassiv.

I would expect either Activ: "Ich habe mich heute schon verabredet" (2)

Or this Zustandspassiv: "Mit mir ist heute schon verabredet" (3)

Can you explain why the example above (1) is correct and why? Are my examples (2),(3) also correct, what is the difference in meaning between all three?

2 Answers 2

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There are surely hundreds of past participles which, like "verabredet" are used adjectivally in both English and German. I use "geschlossen" to illustrate the difference between being closed/zu and being closed/zugemacht. The term Zustandspassiv merely confuses the issue. Neither English nor German has a passive voice as in Latin and so the only problem for English speakers is recognising when to use werden rather than sein.

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  • German may not have verb forms with a passive "genus verbi" as in Latin, but it does have a passive construction – with "werden". So the distinction between "sein + Partizip" and "werden + Partizip" is the relevant difference. The "sein"-construction is a copula verb with an adjectival participle; the "werden"-construction is an auxiliary verb with a non-finite verb form.
    – Alazon
    Jul 31, 2023 at 10:51
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The so-called Zustandspassive can be based on reflexive verbs. This is actually impossible with a true passive, so it is doubtful whether the Zustandspassiv is really a passive (some grammarians call your case a "Zustandsreflexiv". I noticed that this story is missing from the relevant German Wikipedia articles, although an entry Zustandsreflexiv exists).

The patten is regular, although it's not possible with all reflexive verbs. The object "sich" disappears, so perhaps you could imagine that, as in a passive, the object becomes the subject but you don't notice it here because they were identical (that's the meaning of "sich"):

  • sich (mit jemandem) verabreden - (mit jemandem) verabredet sein.
  • sich kämmen - gekämmt sein
  • sich rasieren - rasiert sein
  • sich verfärben - verfärbt sein
  • sich erholen - erholt sein

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