Someone told me that saying "Mach dir die Augen zu " is rude. He told me that to make it more polite say " Mach die Augen zu". Does using the reflexive pronoun "dir" makes it more direct? If the reflexive pronoun is removed it's like using the pronoun "man" ?

  • 4
    The first one produces 3 google search results so I don't think it's very common whereas the second is a common phrase
    – thekeyofgb
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 1:09
  • "Ich mach dir die Augen zu" is a killing threat. "Mach dir die Augen zu" could be understood as "kill yourself"
    – schlingel
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 10:07
  • @schlingel would be the first time I heard that overall... i guess more common would be "ich schick dich ins Grab / für immer schlafen / o.ä."
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 7:33
  • @Vogel612 Keine Ahnung wo ich das gehört habe, kommt vielleicht noch aus der Zeit in der ich viel Deutsch-Punk gehört habe. Wird aber auf jeden Fall verwendet. Unten wurde auch erwähnt, dass im Kontext von Western gehört zu haben - da könnte ich es auch herhaben.
    – schlingel
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


I personally would not consider this saying to be rude. Most of the times, using "dir" in this case is leading to a more specific result. For example:

Mach die Jacke zu. (Close the jacket)

This could basically mean that someone is supposed to close any jacket. It could even be one that he is not even wearing. It just says that someone should close a jacket and it depends on what the speaker is looking or pointing at whether he means the jacket the person is actually wearing.

Mach dir die Jacke zu. (Close your jacket)

This however is more specific. It definitely means that someone should close the jacket he is actually wearing.

Concering the eyes this is what I would conclude here: Because of the fact that someone is not able to for example close someone else eyes, there is no need in using "dir".

What would be said is

Mach die Augen zu. 

because it directly refers to the eyes of the person the speaker is talking to.

PS: One thing about that came to my mind because I was really thinking about this sentence to be rude.

Er soll endlich die Augen zu machen! (He should finally close his eyes!)

This could actually be a rude sentence, because (depending on the context!) it could basically mean that somebody should die. Closing the eyes here could (!) refer to dying that is why this sentence could be considered rude.

However, as always, it is not that simple. It could also mean that somebody is supposed to close his eyes for receiving a present for expample and to be surprised afterwards. This really depends on the context.

  • +1. When they say that in a movie, they usually intend to close somebodys eyes "western-style". Forever.
    – PMF
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 5:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.