1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "I had to find myself again."

"I had to find myself again."

Translation:Ich musste wieder zu mir selbst finden.

January 15, 2013



This sentence tripped me up too. PONS gives this particular meaning of "to find oneself/to sort oneself out" as the fixed construction "zu sich selbst finden". It's just the way German expresses this particular thought. Trying to analyze why it doesn't have a one-to-one correspondence with English is more of an exercise of Comparative Linguistics as opposed to just learning the German expression--it's a lot of work for little reward. It's like asking why the word 'out' is needed in the expression--it's an interesting question, but tangential to learning the expression. I find it's best to just accept, memorize, and practice the entire of 'zu sich selbst finden' as a unit, and then move on. There are plenty more expressions like it needing to be learned! :^)


that's a very nice thought. thank you!


Thanks! What's PONS


Can anyone explain "zu mir" here? Why can't it be "mich selbst finden"? I thought "finden" was used with accusative case, not dative.


The mir is because of the zu. Not the finden. Why you use zu though is beyond me?


It just accepted a plain "mich" (without "zu") as correct from me.


My answer "Ich musste wieder mich finden" was marked incorrect, saying I "missed" a word, and that the correct answer was "Ich musste mich wieder finden." I did not miss a word, but I have mich and wieder apparently in the wrong place, and I do not understand why. There is no "manner" or "place" in this sentence, just "time,"...unless "mich" is here considered a place, and if so, I'd have had it correct.

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with my word order? I am completely and utterly confused by it, over and over again, and am told it's a "simple" thing...but obviously, I'm too simpleminded to get it!


A key point of German word order is that you pretty much always put the most new/interesting/important parts of your sentence toward the end. Time-manner-place can often work as a decent guideline for this but often falls apart depending on what you want to emphasize.

So a sentence like "Ich bin am Freitag zu Hause gekommen" (time-place) is the most natural word order if you have no particular emphasis because the point of the sentence is that you came home ("zu Hause"), so home comes last (before "gekommen," of course). But if you're telling someone when you came home, or emphasizing that you came home specifically on Friday and not, say, Saturday, then you care more about "am Freitag," hence "Ich bin zu Hause am Freitag gekommen" (place-time).

Pronouns are inherently disinteresting because they refer to someone who's already been established. If I say something about "ihn," then you supposedly already know who "ihn" is, or else I would be using his name. "Ihn" is also probably not the main point of your sentence. This is especially true for reflexive pronouns (like "mich") because they're the same person as the subject.

So a pronoun will most likely come very soon after the verb, hence "Ich musste mich wieder finden." By the way, "mich" is most definitely not a place. Time-manner-place is for adverbs and adverbial phrases only. But don't use time-manner-place; just put the most important stuff toward the end of the sentence.

Source: https://yourdailygerman.com/2015/01/07/german-word-order/


I guess because reflexive pronoun always follow the first verb.. you're the subject and the object in this sentence..


Perhaps since accusative is forced by finden, and finden is dependent on musste, mich has to remain attached to musste. On the other hand zu forces dative and so divorces mir selbst from musste finden, and therefore it is treated like a place and comes after wieder.


Personally I suspect that European-fixated grammarian constructs like "dative' and "accusative" are like lead anchors for real language uptake and also non-European languages. Time to move onward. Certainly they had some merit in their time, but after a certain era -- now -- their usefulness is past, and their reactances and limitations impede progress in language acquisition and understanding.

I suggest that the object and object relations oriented modeling of computer science would be a good place to re-zero the science and lingo of language.


It's certainly not the place to start with learning a language, but sometimes the only way to understand certain abstract constructions is to look into the machinery behind the words. With German at least, dative and accusative are real things that are used in a particular way. You'd be hard pressed to use mir and mich properly without a basic understanding of the difference between the two, especially when Duolingo does such a poor job of explaining the finer details of grammar. In this case, I would never have looked so closely at this subtle difference if not in response to a question specifically about it.


What a load of supercilious rubbish


Why does it need "mich" or "mir" in addition to "selbst?" "I had to find me myself again?"


I would like to know this too, Perhaps it is just one of those rules we have to learn


I believe selbst is more like 'self' and mich is necessary to direct it towards you, the speaker of the sentance, so it's 'my self'


why is the word order "Ich musste zu mir selbst wieder finden" not accepted?


This is a fairly brief answer, and may not be entirely accurate since part of it's just a guess, but the only way I can think of explaining this is by saying that if "zu" is in the sentence, it always seems go towards the end. Aside from elements that would be required to go last, like "finden" in this case, "zu" and whatever is affects, from what I've seen, goes towards the end. The main and solider, more logical answer is that since the adverb is after the verb, it has to directly proceed it. It would be more correct to say, "Ich musste wieder zu mir selbst finden."

The first part was simply an observation and the second was based off rules I've seen. I hope neither were wrong and both were helpful! I spent a good amount of time trying to write this so as not to make it seem like a definite answer. I'm not always correct when it comes to adverbs, so I'm crossing my fingers that all this rambling and babbling wasn't for nothing. XD


I have the same question. So thanks for asking it already.


possibly word order time-manner-place? wieder would be the time part?


What is wrong with this sentence "ich musste mich nochmal finden"?


I answered "Ich hatte mich wieder finden." It is wrong.. Duolingo told me that I must use mußte instead. Im quite confused when to use "haben" and "mussen". Help anyone


müssen = "have to/must"

"Ich musste mich wieder finden" - "I had to find myself again"

"haben" is used in the literal sense of "to have", i.e, possession.

Your translation is - "I had myself again find", which doesn't make much sense.

Haben is also used in perfect tense:

"Ich hatte mich wieder gefunden" - "I had found myself again"

Since this sentence isn't in perfect tense or possessive, you can't use haben.


Ahh. Okay. Vielen dank!


Gern geschehen! Ich hoffe dass du verstanden hast.


i put <ich musste mich selber nochmal finden>, i thought selbst and selber were interchangeable, can someone clarify?


I remember hearing that they're essentially the same, but selber is a little more colloquial. If "Ich musste mich selbst nochmal finden" is a correct translation, I don't see why "Ich musste mich selber nochmal finden" would be marked wrong. Perhaps they just haven't added it yet. :)


good thing i reported it then, thanks.


I answered "Ich musste mich wieder finden", is their answer more acceptable?


musste and mußte are different?


As I understand it, mußte is an old-fashioned spelling of musste which was declared incorrect by the 1996 spelling reforms.


Confused about zu mir also.


I put in "ich musste mich erneut finden" and it said I was wrong because I should use wieder instead of erneut. Could someone please clarify why?


I'm not sure, but it might be the rest of the sentence actually. Maybe try doing "Ich musste erneut zu mir selbst finden." Honestly I can't see a reason why "erneut" wouldn't work since it also means "again."


I've set my Facebook language to Deutsch, and erneut is used more often (or always) than wieder, yet I can't find an explanation for the difference :/


I know...sometimes they seem not to add all the possible translations, so this might just be that. I believe you're correct for using "erneut," so I would say report it. If it's incorrect they just won't add it, but if it is you will have helped to improve the course. :) I love that you set your Facebook to Deutsch. I have all my stuff currently set to Nederlands, or Dutch.


Thank you very much! :)


I see this was posted 5 months ago so perhaps you may know this by now but for those who don't, there is a massive difference between the written language and spoken form in terms of vocabulary. They simply never say ''erneut'' in speech but only on paper, thus your Facebook is written in a formal way. You cannot trust any formal/newspaper German as to verify whether it is commonly spoken or not.


Why can't i use "sich" instead of "mich" ?


"Sich" refers to third person, singular or plural: himself, herself, themselves.


So, 'noch einmal' is a step too far away from 'wieder'?


I had the same question. Anyone?


noch einmal should work as well. My guess is they just didn't add that as one of the alternative translations. :)


I have read all of the comments and the closest that I can get to an explanation for why "zu mir" is needed in this sentence is "that's the way Germans express this thought." Is that it? If it is the only explanation then there must be a hugh number of similar reflexive constructions out there waiting to bite us -- i.e., constructions of the form (nominative pronoun) ... (zu dative pronoun) selbst.


I didn't try, but would "Ich musste mich zurechtfinden" work?


Why is zu in here at all? I thought after mussen you just used the infinitive.


I can't understand the position of Wieder here, it only accepts: Ich musste mich selbst wieder finden. Ich musste wieder zu mir selbst finden.

if I try: ich musste zu mir selbst wieder finden, it's marked as wrong!


What do these sentences (both English and German) mean? Is this something one would say after getting lost in a new town, or does this refer to existential search for meaning? Would appreciate it if someone gave an example of a situation where this phrase might come up.


Alright. I'm sick of this gotcha thing. Does it make an enormous difference to say "Ich musste zu mir selbst wieder finden", instead of the suggested one that puts wieder right after musste??? Thanks.


I hatte mich selbst wieder finden

whats wrong with this?


You can't use "haben" to mean "have to." You can only use "muss." "Ich muss mich selbst wieder finden" is fine. (You also have "I" instead of "Ich," but I suspect that was a typo.)


I know word order is pretty lenient in Germany, so i was curious if "ich musste mir selbst wieder zu finden" would work?


No. "zu mir selbst" together is one way kf saying "myself". So, it has to be together.


Why is "Ich musste wieder mich selbst finden" not acceptable? I would automatically assume it is the placement of "wieder", since "Ich musste mich selbst wieder finden" gets accepted. BUT then again, Duo suggests "Ich musste wieder zu mir selbst finden" as the correct translation, so is it not the placement of "wieder"? Or does the second sentence require a different word order? I am so confused.... @.@


The drop down thing does not say wieder. Why is it in the answer but not the drop down thing


What's the drop down thing?


Are "selbst" and "selber" not synonyms? "selber" wasn't accepted


Why is "Ich musste mich selbst wieder zu finden" not correct? What do I miss here?


I try using this every day. Still haven't found myself.


Diese Übersetzung ist nicht richtig in Deutschland sagt man ich musste selbst zu mir finden


can any native speaker confirm if the german sentence is grammatically or otherwise correct? i'm confused.


The sentence is indeed grammatically correct


I swear someone sits back there and makes these translations up as we go. One translation is one way and almost the same type is another way. Very frustrating when from one screen to the next the rules seem to change.


Why "wieder" is right in this case and "nochmals" is not?


Would "erneut" not fit here too?


I wrote ".. wieder mich .." and Duo says ".. mich wieder .." ... Really?! There could be a meaning difference, but isn't it cruel to broke a heart for that? ;o


Yeah, word order is annoying. But it sounds as weird to Germans as "I had to find again myself" does to us. Check out my comment above (responding to alwaysthesea) for an explanation.

[deactivated user]

    What does this even mean? What a horrible sentence to teach someone new to a language.


    I had to again to me myself find. I'll never understand this.

    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.