"Mir fehlt ein Bein!"

Translation:I am missing a leg!

January 25, 2013

140 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/SimMoor

What is this obsession with legs? "I am missing a leg!", "The patient needs a leg", "the legs are black". What's going on? Also, when would this sentence ever be used? "You okay?", "Yes, fine....wait a minute! I'm sure I had more appendages. 1, 2, 3,...oh my goodness, I'm missing a leg!" Or perhaps it's Dr Frankenstein telling Igor he's a leg short.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DerZorz

when you drug yourself with LSD in Germany you'll use a lot these leg phrases

March 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RenatoArauj8

hahahahahhahah lmao, genau!

September 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sethalious

I'm sure this phrase was used quite a bit in WWI and WWII

July 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RenatoArauj8

SURELY hahaha

September 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SeanCellerOBryan

Maybe you absent-mindedly ask your amputee friend if he'd like to go running with you, and he responds 'I'm missing a leg (you ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤)!'

January 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/zabellz

(patient in a psychotic episode at a hospital)
patient: I'm missing a leg!! I need a leg.. why is everybody missing a leg here? (blablablah)
doctor: don't worry, sir.. we will find a leg for you.
(over the phone) -nurse, the patient needs a leg!!
nurse comes in
-nurse: sir, do you still need a leg? -patient: oh, thanks, nurse.. the legs are back!

April 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

It makes apparent the different way missing is used in German. When you are talking about your own body part being missing and have to use the dative case, it drives home how it differs from English.

March 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Metleon

SpongeBob must be popular in Germany.

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Kristina821524

Actually, this sentence could be used by my godson, who has prosthetic lower legs. At home and when playing, he often "kicks off" the prosthetic, sometimes resulting later in a search for a missing leg.

January 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PugLove888

Darn, and I thought I had problems when my glasses are missing!

January 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidStyIes

Ernst Grünfeld once lost his leg on the way to a chess tournament, and had to phone former world champion Max Euwe to come and help him find it...

https://en.chessbase.com/post/a-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-tournament-hall-

(For any interested in actually reading the story: note that DL fails to correctly parse the last "-" at the end of the URL there. So if you click and get a 404 page, just add the final - manually and it'll work again)

February 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/markbooth

"If you're playing football or anything try and favour the other leg." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rObSWkQA7og

July 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SoniaN17

There is apparently some kind of obsession with legs as in the list of 500 most important German words i guess the most used ones there was a leg word ;)) i would never include a leg in my list of 500 most used russian words ;))))

November 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CirAtzix

On a list of 5000 most frequently used German words ...

nr. 652 das Bein; -e .......... the leg
nr. 990 beinahe .......... almost
;)

December 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BradfordGo1

made me laugh, thank you for that. i completely had the same thought!

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SheldonCol3

You'd use it when you're getting back from KFC, and they left out a piece.

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/beaker606

Ok. I am trying to understand why mir is used. Is it because the object that is missing the leg is me? (Bind=direct object=accusitave, Mir=indirect object=dative)

April 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/DarcX

Constructions like this can't be literally translated into English and make sense. "The leg is missing to me" makes no sense but it does in German. You just have to learn it.

August 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Bencloete

So "fehlt" always triggers the dative?

December 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LudmorHun

Just because it does not make sense in English, translating it like that can help to understand the logic of the language. At least for me it works better than "just learn it" :)

January 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Missing has that same construction in French. It seems strange to English speakers but at least two major European languages use it. I wonder if other Euros have the same view.

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Colter45

Whenever I would find cognates like this between French and German, my French professor - who is French - would usually say that it was because of France and Germany's close proximity.

Vernacular seems to have a way of jumping across languages, so long as they're close together.

June 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/not_a_thing

Spanish as well.

August 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/supu1

Italian as well

May 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nick40vmi

It would be better to say "My leg is missing." or literally "Of me that is missing is a leg."

Missing in terms of something that is no longer in possession of the owner or it is not in the location where it should be, "fehlen" is used.

Missing in terms of longing for or the emotional void left by something or (likely) someone, "vermissen" is used.

August 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/hechap

So, in English, if one was assembling a doll, one might say "I am missing a leg." and mean that one of the doll's legs wasn't included in the kit. So could you dispense with the dative when using "fehlen" and just say "Ein Bein fehlt!" instead?

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

in this context: yes

April 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sbmassey

You could think of it as something like "as for me, a leg is missing", which makes grammatical sense even if no English speaker would put it like that.

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/cgottsch

Yes they can, and it does make sense, at least in the context of language discussion, even tho its awkward sounding and never used by English speakers. Linguists study this stuff as a livelihood. It may be easier to "just learn it/just memorize it" for many but other people may want to gain an intuitive grasp of the language through explanation. I know my Japanese language learning really took off when I stopped learning in school and started truly translating and breaking down sentences that were "untranslatable". Theres so much we refuse to translate simply because of cultural differences/preferences but it leads to a loss of information that although you can do without, in my opinion, is enriching to keep in.

March 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/beaker606

*Bein

April 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/H.ello

Does this "mistake" happen often in Germany?

December 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mad_Max2024

Now... where did my leg go?!

November 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MrMattyMatt

Who comes up with this stuff?

January 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/fleeny

as spoken by the spider who crept out of a jam jar after a rescue attempt ....

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/idkhbtfm

Right before you go on a car trip... Swimsuits? Check Suitcases? Check Legs? No, I need to go and find mine

January 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rccbd

You all crack me up! Laughing out loud!

February 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Gildesh

How could you say "I am not feeling my leg"

March 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bf2010
  • 1823

"Ich spüre mein Bein nicht";

May 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/slightly-left

WHY ISN'T IT "ICH FEHLE EINEM BEIN"???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Colter45

Because fehlen is a dative verb.

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/slightly-left

but there is "einem"

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Colter45

Einem is for dative objects; dative verbs are different. I think there's a lesson on it later, but sufficed to say- some verbs are always used with a dative pronoun, you just kind of have to memorize which ones do and don't.

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/OgnjenG.

It is ein Bein because this is direct object, it is leg that is being missing. On the other hand we use mir instead of Ich beacuse it is fixed phrase in German. You can see it as:

It is leg that is missing to me.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

You could say Ein Bein fehlt mir, but that feels most natural to me as the answer to "What are you missing? What is it that you are missing?"

The neutral sentence is Mir fehlt ein Bein, I would say -- even though ein Bein is the grammatical subject.

For example, if someone asks "What's the problem?", I'd say Mir fehlt ein Bein rather than Ein Bein fehlt mir.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OgnjenG.

that seems reasonable, thank you :)

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

No, ein Bein is not a direct object -- is a subject.

For example, if you were missing a finger, you would say Mir fehlt ein Finger and not Mir fehlt *einen Finger.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/OgnjenG.

hm, I thought it was object, but apparently I was wrong. I was confused because of fehlt and not fehle, and word order. Could you say it other way around? Ein Bein fehlt mir?

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

This discussion ios too nested, so that I can't directly reply to OgnjenG. Yes, technically you could say "Ein Bein fehlt mir", but you would rarely hear that (even less frequently than the original sentence). German is rather free with word order and you usually put important things first. You would only use your sentence if it is already clear that you are lacking some limb, but your partner incorrectly assumed it is an arm that is missing, so you try to correct him.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

That would mean "a leg is missing me".

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/blotzo
  • 1566

I would have thought "ein Bein fehlt mir". Would that be OK?

October 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

in principle it is ok, but you wouldn't normally use this word order. Perhaps only in poems, or after having been asked "Dir fehlt ein Arm?" and then answering "nein, EIN BEIN fehlt mir."

December 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/russiangoat

Do you really need an exclamation point? You drama queen.

December 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AdeKurniawan92

I can't imagine someone who could casually say that when he just realized that he has lost his leg

January 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KathyA54

Hey! I ordered a whole chicken, and I checked and..................!

April 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PapaNaxos

und ihm fehlt ein Bein!

ihm = dative of 'es', which I'm assuming is what you'd use for (das) Hähnchen.

Although I'm just a learner, so this may not be right...

November 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/simar_833

Must have been a tiger

June 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/jargos

A tiger in Africa!?

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MyLegendaryBeing

That's not something you want to wake up and say.

September 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Fourtowner

I hope I never lose a leg in Germany as due to the shock I think I'd be unable to conjugate this sentence

January 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lizzy0127

How horrible!

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/nonaspawn

Oh really? I didn't even notice...

(worst date ever)

June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandroMolina9

What's the difference between "verpasst " and "fehlt" ? Both mean "miss " and I'm just kinda clear of the difference

March 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

"verpassen" can be used only in a context, where you could not reach a means of transport (or a date) in time. "fehlen" means "to lack", you use it if you have something less than expected.

March 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandroMolina9

Oh ok,thanks ! :)

March 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/azan440476

I'm getting WWII flashbacks

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/dermannjohn

My leg!

December 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BlazingFast

I would like to know if we could say "Ich fehle ein Bein". Could anyone tell me please?

March 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SyamkumarR

The correct translation, though awkward in english is 'To me a leg is missing'. So 'who' is doing the action of missing, the 'leg'. The leg is the subject here. So the verb should be 'fahlt' instead of 'fahle'.

March 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BlazingFast

Great explanation - thank you!

March 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/slightly-left

can we say : "Ich fehle einem Bein"?

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

that would mean "A leg misses me". Weird, but grammatically possible.

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SyamkumarR

That probably sounds like saying "I miss to a leg", if I am correct.

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PopCultureTime

I've been thinking of the exact same question. What's the difference?

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

"Ich fehle ein Bein" is not a grammatically correct German sentence. "fehlen" takes a dative object, in this case "mir". The subject is "ein Bein".

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BlazingFast

Ah, so the only way to say this is Mir fehlt ein Bein.

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jugsbugs

Well I am a surgeon and I find it most useful. My patients would prefer I didn't say it in German though..

Point being many sentences in the German version of duolingo are not useful for travelling nor beginners. The Spanish version is excellent. Time for a revision Duo!!!!!!!

May 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pearcrow

That's not good.

July 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/shokuroff

There is the sad sentence totally.

March 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ostanek

answer I am missing one leg. Should be accepted

January 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/brettstuder

"eins" is one. "ein" is a. Just sayin'....

January 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/4meerschweinchen

'ein' can also mean 'one' though. when you want to say one (of something) you just use the indefinite article. so 'ein Bein' = 'a leg' or 'one leg', 'eine Blume' = 'a flower' or 'one flower', etc. i've only seen 'eins' used when talking specifically about the number 1

December 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Zivi

x is to y means y owns x. This construction exists in Latin as well, and an English speaker just needs to memorize it.

August 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/fleeny

Apparently, according to someone very knowing, who also studied Latin, it is the DATIVE of POSSESSION. This in fact means nothing to me because I didn't even properly learn the basics of English grammar (or is it grammer ?)

June 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/andreim1828

just because you didn't learn it doesn't mean you have to criticize others who do know it. And it's grammar

September 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Veganboy

What? Who makes these kinds of sentences?

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/HansNoor

Drunken Duo

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/borko_kl

Why is ich not used? when to use ich and when to use mir?

December 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sbmassey

'fehlen' means 'to be missing'. 'ich fehle' would therefore mean 'I am missing'. Here, a leg is missing, which translates as 'ein Bein fehlt', and dative is used to say where the thing is missing from, hence 'mir fehlt ein Bein' for 'as for me, a leg is missing'

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/solidgitarius

Because it works as indirect object, ich declines to mir in the dative case.

December 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/xKingConduitx

MY LEG!! how unfortunate.

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/xKingConduitx

does double your lingot wager by maintaning a week long daily challange double the amount of lingots you have?

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

No. It doubles your bet. In this case it is five lingots being bet that you might lose but you get ten if you win. ie: keep your streak going for seven days.,

If you set a daily challenge then you will have to meet that level every day for the period of the bet. From a strategy point of view to acquire lingots, it is probably a good idea to reduce your daily challenge, if you are going to start wagering on it.

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sh.moradkhani

What is the difference between "i'm missing a leg" and "i don't have a leg"?!

March 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy

Assuming you are talking about an object rather than a person......

I'm missing a leg suggests that a leg was or should be there but no longer is.

I don't have a leg suggests only that there is no leg. Perhaps there never was one nor should it have had one.

March 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/dallin1666

i can give you one i got 1 extra

March 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Platinum2k

So is "Ich fehle ein bein" wrong?

April 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rjjacob

I think the best translation is "I lost a leg."

April 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/tuffguykerouac

At long last, I can appreciate German cinema

April 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidRussnak

What I find alarming is that this sentence seems like the person is surprised to find it missing. Like 'oops! Where'd it go?'

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/andreim1828

No I'm not!

June 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/emmabukacek

Poor Wirt.

June 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Osk.S
  • 1003

I'm putting together a flat pack coffee table, I get to the end and guess what. "Mir fehlt ein Bein"

leg Gender: Neuter ! "

November 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/marioaae

Could it also be "Ich fehle ein Bein!"?

November 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PapaNaxos

Just a learner myself, but I don't think it can be that. If I understand correctly, 'fehlen' means 'to be missing'.

So your sentence 'Ich fehle ein(em) Bein' --literal--> 'I am missing to my leg'. Which, I guess, has some implication of the leg missing you or the leg being uncertain as to where you are, or something X-D

It's very odd from an English perspective.

Another example:

'Fehlt dir etwas?' --literal--> 'Is something missing to you?' --rephrased--> 'Is something wrong with you?' --More-Englischy--> 'Is something wrong?', or 'Is everything okay?'

If anyone reads this and sees it as wrong, please correct me!

November 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Treehero

Ich kann beziehen

December 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sue91707

it is literally >>>> A leg misses me(CAUSE THERE IS A MIR NOT ICH) why mir is subject ?

December 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AnaMaria_Kat

It sounds like someone wakes up from a party & hangover and they're like: What happened? Who's in my bed? Where are my clothes? And also, where is my leg?

March 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/DawHar

Es tut mir lied Entshuldigung

March 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Gianfranco879759

Next on Duolingo: -My legs are OK. -You gain Brozouf.

April 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MaciekKrynica

Sometimes those sentences just don't make any sense.... Million sentences that we actually need in a foreign country (just moved to Austria) but no - 'I am missing a leg' is more important

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Erika592491

Why Mir instead of Ich?

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

fehlen is "to be missing"; the subject is the leg, and you are the person "to whom" it is missing.

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

The German construction is different from the English one. In English you say "I am lacking a leg" with "I" being the subject. But the German word "fehlen" is used differently. The leg is the subject here and "I" appear only as a dative object, so it is "Mir fehlt ein Bein".

July 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/NayutaIto

Does this sentence mean "I've lost a leg"?

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

Not necessarily -- perhaps you never had a second leg due to a birth defect, for example.

It just means that you are missing one leg or that you lack one of your legs, whether that's due to having had two and then losing one, or simply having just one in the first place.

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Christian.OT

This goes straight to the "WTF" duolingo section.

August 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/_chapstick

why mir and not ich?

August 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

Erika592491 asked this question a month ago; please read the thread she started rather than repeating the question.

August 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/vvvyne

The word order is strange to me. 'My missing a leg'? Why is not 'Mir ein Bein fehlt'?

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

mir is not "my" but rather "(to) me" -- To-me is-missing a leg.

And the verb fehlt is in the second position of the sentence because that's where the verb belongs in a regular sentence: you can't put both mir and ein Bein in front of it.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/vvvyne

thank you! I understand now <3

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/dlung1

Does the same word apply to human legs and inanimate objects, such as the legs of a table?

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

in principle yes. But a table would rather seldom speak, so the sentence would not come up.

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/FosterDeutsch

Most of us can identify with this statement.

October 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sinekonata

This is so similar on so many levels with "Me falta una pierna"... :D

October 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Lindsey2017

Why isn't it ich instead of mir?

December 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

the construction in German is different from the English one: "ein Bein" is the subject of the sentence and "mir" is a dative (indirect) object.

December 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

Because ich is nominative case, used for the subject, but the subject of fehlen (to be missing) is ein Bein.

It's the leg that's missing, and it's missing "to you".

December 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SantoshVen3

I hate when this happens

January 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vlad942705

What kind of question is that :D

February 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WolfVonPosen

It is special phrase or we rly talking about someone who dont have legs and now miss >__>

May 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

I don't understand what you are asking. Can you express the question more clearly? What is your mother tongue (maybe knowing this could help)?

May 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WolfVonPosen

Mir alweys reset case form? Cuz i remeber fehlen+Dativ..ein is defintly not Dativ.

May 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

The dative is "mir". The "ein" belongs to "ein Bein", which is grammatically the subject of the German sentence and therefore nominative.

May 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EdgarKHXZ7

Spanish comes into play here.

"me falta una pierna!"

June 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DawsonDarl

I really hope the context is eating chicken...

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/spieskim

Everyone has wondered whose leg it is in the sentence and let's get it clear! The original sentence:

Es fehlt mir ein Bein.

I have learnt that reflexive pron followed by a DEFINITE noun means the noun is possessed by the pron, for example,

Ich wasche mir die Hände.

Though the case isn't reflexive but I think it still applies. And giving that the following noun is an INDEFINITE one so we can conclude that the leg is not the speaker's!(Otherwise it'll be"Es fehlt mir das Bein.")

This sentence means the speaker has lost a leg of toy or an animal, or a victim(in case it's a play line in Hannibal.)

November 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/fehrerdef
Mod
  • 998

Though you are right in the reflexive case, this does not apply here. The missing leg could be the speaker's or not. Usually one would assume it to be his/her own, if the context doesn't suggest anything different (such as the examples you gave). "Mir fehlt das Bein" would only be appropriate if it is known beforehand that the speaker has had only one leg which is now missing too. "Mir fehlt ein Bein" tells that the speaker is missing one of his/her legs.

May 11, 2018
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