"Sie fehlt mir."
Translation:I miss her.
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I think the confusion here is not stemming from a difference between German and English grammar. It is instead that the verb itself has a different meaning. In German it is the subject of the sentence that is in a state of being missed by him, where as in English it is the subject of the sentence that is committing the action of missing her. I hope that is correct and makes sense. Please correct me if not.
This made more sense to me when I saw "to lack" as a translation of "fehlen" (http://dict.leo.org/ende/index_de.html#/search=fehlen&searchLoc=0&resultOrder=basic&multiwordShowSingle=on) -> "She is lacking to me". That, at least to me, seems less ambiguous about the direction of "missing" than "to be missing".
I hate this verb (not really, but it's hard to grasp for an English speaker). I just have to think of it as meaning "to be missing from," and 'from'='von,' which is a dative preposition, so it takes 'mir' instead of 'mich.' The same with gefallen and gehoren ('to be liked by' and 'to belong to'- 'bei' and 'zu' are also dative prepositions so they also take mir or dir etc.).
I am getting confused with all with words for missing. I get verpassen is to miss something - like lunch ( i remember it as is pass it (accidentally) and then there was vermissen which means you miss something - as in you long for it. But now theyve introduced fehlt. Googling it it seems it means - to be missing. but here it is used in the same way as i thought vermissen would be?
For those struggling to grasp this sentence, try thinking of it as a kind of poetic sentence. Technically you can also say 'Ich vermisse sie' but 'sie fehlt mir' is more poetic. Mir being more like 'to me' than 'me' in this context. There is no good translation really, but to capture the feeling of this sentence would be something like 'To me, there is a lack of her presence' or 'To me, the lack of her is present' It maybe sounds a bit weird but it really is a sentence that can't really be compared to 'I miss her' because it packs a lot of meaning into three simple words.