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Help please (German question)

I am an English speaker doing the reverse tree.

I translated 'He has felt something' with 'Er hat sich etwas gefühlt' - but it was not accepted.

Can a German speaker please explain to me what is wrong with this translation - and what would be correct.

Thank you.

February 27, 2018



To add to the comments saying you don't need the reflexive "sich": Try using "sense" instead of "feel". If it's still a gramatically correct sentence, you don't need the "sich". For example:

She feels the rain. - She senses the rain? Yes, that's a similar sentence - no "sich" needed: Sie fühlt den Regen.

She feels threatened. - She senses threatened? No, that's a weird sentence. So now use "sich": Sie fühlt sich bedroht.

Roughly speaking: "sich fühlen" = "to feel like in a certain state of mind or body Ex.: sich krank fühlen - to feel like in a sick state

"etwas fühlen" = to feel a thing, like "the sun" or "my foot aching"


The reflexive sich is wrong.

Er hat etwas gefühlt. He feels something (wrong/good/strange/present) in the room/around/in an emotion etc. .

You would say: Er hat sich krank gefühlt (He felt sick - he himself felt like he is sick) for an example where you use the reflexive sich .

But even when, in your example, he e.g. felt something inside his own body (like a gargling in his belly) you wouldn't use the sich either because he just feels it.

[deactivated user]

    I don't think you need the reflexive pronoun. I'm not sure how to translate it into English with the reflexive pronoun. If you want to say, for example, he felt sad, then Er hat sich traurig gefült.


    The English is ambiguous. It could mean he has felt something with his fingers, or it could mean he felt a emotion . With no context, DUO should accept both (sich or no sich).


    No, Duo shouldn't, because "Er hat sich etwas gefühlt" doesn't work even if you're thinking of "Er hat sich krank oder gut oder stolz gefühlt". You might say, "Er hat sich irgendwie gefühlt" ("He felt [himself to be in] some way [e.g. sick or proud, but I don't know which, I just know he had some sort of emotion]", but of course you normally wouldn't have an opportunity to say this.

    Maybe you're thinking of e.g. "Er hat sich etwas krank gefühlt" = "He was feeling a bit sick", but "etwas" is conjoined with the adjective here: Wie hat er sich gefühlt? How was he feeling? - "etwas krank", "a bit sick". Again, "Er hat sich etwas gefühlt" doesn't work without the adjective, because "He was feeling a bit" might be a valid English sentence, but then "a bit" (without an adjective) stands on its own and would translate as e.g. "Er hat ein bisschen was gefühlt" (e.g. when the needle pierced his skin, but it didn't actually hurt). Or "He felt something" = "Er hat etwas gefühlt" again (as opposed to "he didn't feel anything" e.g. when the doctor touched his toe to see if it's frozen / properly anesthesised).


    Thanks. I had wrongly assumed that it might work as an answer to a question like: did he feel anything for her? I have now updated my notes.


    You can say "Er hat etwas [für sie] empfunden" in that context; "gefühlt" wouldn't really work there. I'd say that "empfinden" = "to have feelings/emotions, to perceive"; it's also used e.g. for "[No, I don't hate you, Mr Villain.] Ich empfinde Mitleid für Sie [because you're actually more pathetic than you are evil]" (literally: "I feel pity for you"), "Ich empfinde das als eine Beleidigung" ("I perceive this as an insult, I am feeling offended by this").

    (And yet another word in this vein would be "spüren" = mostly "to sense", e.g. the wind on your face, the presence of a ghost in the room, nothing when touching a broken electric fence. There's also "verspüren", which is rarely used, for the most part used with a few specific words, and rather formal: "Ich verspüre den Wunsch / den Drang, das zu tun" = "I feel a desire / an urge to do this")

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