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German: befinden = assert / befindet = asserts

I've reached 'reflexive verbs' in the German tree and have just come across a couple of vocabulary exercises where I was asked to identify the translation of 'befinden' and then 'befindet' - the correct responses are apparently 'assert' and 'asserts'.

This doesn't feel right to me, so I had a look at various online dictionaries/Google, but the only page I found that gives the above as a correct translation is in Duolingo's own dictionary! Even then, the example sentences suggest that befinden means 'be located' or just 'be'.


I can't think of any example where 'assert' would have that meaning. Is this a glitch or am I missing something?

September 29, 2017



Hi Dom,

I would say this is a glitch. Please report it.

To assert means to my knowledge "behaupten" "feststellen" or also "beteuern" "versichern". "sich befinden" refers to a location. "Der Hut befindet sich auf dem Stuhl" I would translate it with to stand or to be located (somewhere).

best regards Angel


Yes, doesn't seem to be correct.

You could say Ich finde dass ich unschuldig bin and could translate it with I assert that I am innocent to emphasize the fact (in the English phrase) that you really are..

But in this way it is not used with the prefix be.

You could say Jemanden als unschuldig befinden - that is grammatically correct and also used and can be translated (a bit freely) with to assert someone's innocence

But that's the only example I can imagine in the moment...

The wverb befinden is, as you already stated, mostly used for location. Ich befinde mich wherever.

Or used as a noun: "das Befinden" as a state (physical or psychological), a condition, the health or a Feeling


Hi Micha,

you are right. I didn't think about that. "jemanden für schuldig/unschuldig befinden" is of course correct. But "jemanden für etwas befinden" is in my opinion a ascertainment. I mean if you assert that you are innocent it doesn't means that you really are or that the judge (for example) rules that you are. Or am I off the track now?

regards Angel


Yes, the German word befinden used in this way is a personal opinion not a fact.

And now, talking about it, I think it isn't actually wrong to translate it with "to assert" (when used in that way).

But any ways, it still seems to me kind of confusing to put it like that in the tree for people learning German.


yes, very confusing. I agree with you without a context it shouldn't just like that in the tree.

@Dom I hope our little discussion is not more confusing than helpful for you.


Not confusing at all and very helpful - I studied and worked in languages for many years, so I'm quite happy to take part in/read discussions about linguistic points.

Now, I did click on the 'report' button when I spotted the translation the second time (it cropped up one more time), so I guess that's all I can do.

Thanks to both of you, Angel and Micha, for confirming my thoughts and for the additional explanations.


My pleasure! Regards Angel

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