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Usage of "Mich" and "Mir"

Hello everyone,

I'm a bit confused on how and when to use "mich" and "ich". I have a basic idea though: You use "ich" when referring to yourself and "mich" when talking about yourself or something like that, though I'd love to understand the "ich"/"mich" thing a bit better. If anyone has a clue please explain when "mir" is used as well.

Thank you! AP4418

April 13, 2018



This is a grammar question, so I'll have to use some grammar terms to explain the matter, and I hope this is ok.

The answer is that ich is a nominative case pronoun, and mich is an accusative case pronoun. If you are not familiar with grammatical cases, here is a quick resource: https://easy-deutsch.de/en/nouns/cases/

Suffice it to say that the nominative case is used for the subject of a sentence (the person or thing doing an action) , and the accusative case is used for the direct object of a sentence (the person or thing having an action done to it).

In the sentence I see him, I is the subject and him is the direct object. In the sentence He sees me, he is the subject and me is the direct object.

To express these sentences in German, we have to make sure we put the pronouns in the correct case depending on whether they're the subject or the direct object. I see him = Ich sehe ihn. ich is the subject, so we use the nominative case pronoun. He sees me = Er sieht mich. mich is the direct object, so we must use the accusative case pronoun.

The nominative and accusative pronouns are among the very most commonly used words in German, so it's important that you practice them until they're second nature to you. A nominative/accusative pair exists for first, second, and third person in both the singular and the plural. It's a lot to take in and memorize when you're just beginning with German, but with practice it will start making more sense.

Also, as slamRN already mentioned, you'll eventually encounter mir in addition to ich and mich. Mir is the dative case pronoun, used for indirect objects. After you have mastered the nominative and accusative cases, then you can tackle the dative case. My advice is to try not to take in too much new grammar all at once.

Viel SpaƟ!


Thank you for the link ;)


In brief ich is usually equal to our English "I"; and mich and mir equal to that of our english "me" although there are rules about when to use which form. But let's back up a little bit- as you can see, all three words, ich, mich, & mir refer to the same person, but are used in a different case.

There is the Nominative, the Accusative, Dative, and Genitive cases in German. For our purposes here we will focus on these first three. (Genitive is simply an ownership case which English also uses.)

The nominative is the place of the actor in the sentence, or the one performing some action.

Ich trinke Milch. - I drink milk. // We use ich here because I am the one drinking milk.

Accusative is the place of the direct object, or the one to whom some action affects.

Sam liebt mich. - Sam loves me. //In this case, we use mich because in this statement because we see that Sam is in fact the one doing the loving-and mich indicates that I am the direct object, or the receiver of the loving, if you will.

Dative is a case that only rarely reveals itself directly in English but is much more common in German. This indicates an indirect object.

Krista gibt mir den Kuli. - Krista gives me the pen (or) Krista gives the pen to me //In this case we would use mir because I am the indirect object in this sentence. Krista is the one who gives, which means she takes the nominative position.

The way we know what to do from this point is by looking at the verb, which is gibt. So we look for what is being given; here it is the Kuli. Now to whom is the Kuli being given? That, there is the indirect object. (Fun fact: our English use of "whom" is a vestige of the otherwise obsolete use of the dative case in English.) Additionally, usually if you would say "to (someone or something)" in English that is a good indicator that the dative case should be used.

Without giving too much information overload there are prepositions that also help you know which to use which you will learn as you continue on your German adventure. Always remember to read the hints/notes before each lesson on Duolingo, and if you are still stuck consult elsewhere on the internet. German Stack exchange is a great resource!

It can be a confusing at first, but as you practice, practice, practice, you will become more used to it and appreciate the beauty and added clarity which English lacks in this regard that German so artfully adds through the use of all of these cases. All of this you are seeing through the use of ich, mich, and mir.

Good luck and please ask as many questions as you can. We're all learning here together.


Thank you everyone for your Beitrag! You're really good at explaining things! Herzlichen dank!


"mich" and "mir" are both "me" in English.

However in German, mich is used for direct object of the sentence and mir is used for indirect object of the sentence. Differentiating between these two is rather easy since indirect object in English tends to come after some sort of preposition such as "from", "to" and ...

Example: "He gives the book to me" - "Er gibt mir das buch" Me is indirect in the sentence because it came after the preposition "to".

Example: "He loves me" - "Er liebt mich"


Example: "He gives the book to me"....

This is not an example of an indirect object in English. In your example, "me" is the object of the preposition "to". If you would like to use "me" and an indirect object, in English it would be "He gives me the book".

Me is indirect in the sentence because it came after the preposition "to".

In English, prepositions simply take an "object" and not a direct or indirect object. Also in English, the object of a preposition is in the objective case. In English, we do not have an accusative or dative case.

  • 1305

Thanks a lot!

  • 1305

Add "mir" to that and it is really confusing.


Should I add "mir" in my post as a question?


Thanks so much everyone for commenting, I understand so much more now! I copy the comments into a note and print them, then I read them over and over! Vielen dank!


Mich is useful in the accusative case when we point to something done by a direct object, while mir is used in the Dative case when we are pointing to something done by an indirect object.

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