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  • Topic


    I'm reading "Der fremde Gast" by Charlotte Link, and I'm confused by the past participle(s) of "erschrecken". It seems altogether unfair for a verb to have two past participles, but this one apparently does: (haben) erschreckt and (sein) erschrocken (according to the search results I obtained).

    So, what's going on when Ms. Link writes (page 78): "du HAST mich jetzt ganz schön erschreckt" and then continues (page 79): "aber dass ich mich aufgeregt and erschrocken HABE"?

    I'm hoping it 's a typo. Otherwise, I'm lost! I know this is a minor point, but it has been driving me mad for two days.

    Thanks for any help.
    AuthorTom12 Jul 05, 15:55
    It's not a typo. There is a difference between "jemanden erschrecken" (transitive) and "sich erschrecken" (reflexive). The past participle of the latter is indeed "erschrocken": Ich habe mich erschrocken. That's more or less the same as: Ich bin erschrocken. But: Ich habe ihn erschreckt.

    German is really complicated...
    #1Authordirk12 Jul 05, 16:01
    Tom: I guess zou have heard of regular and irregular verbs in english. Example: irregular: to go, went, gone. Regular: to play, played, played. There are some verbs that can be both regular and irregular. Sorry I have no English example right now.

    The same goes in German. You found an example of a verb that can be conjugated regularly and irregularly.

    It has got nothing to do with unfairness. It is just the way it is. Get a good dictionary.
    #2Authorhein mück 12 Jul 05, 16:03
    @Tom: Never mind, most German native speakers struggle with this one as well...
    #3Authororeg12 Jul 05, 16:04
    Tom, as hein correctly states, the infinitive 'erschrecken' follows two conjugations: erschrak, erschrocken ("irregular", intransitive, doesn't take an object) vs. erschreckte, erschreckt ("regular", transitive, takes an object). But there are quite a few Germans who don't get that sorted, either, sorry to say - or as a consolation :-)
    #4AuthorPeter <de>12 Jul 05, 16:09
    While it is in fact possible to say "ich habe mich erschrocken" (in the reflexive form), I think it is easier to stick with the rule:

    erschrecken, erschrak, erschrocken conjugates with "sein" and is intransitive
    erschrecken, erschreckte, erschreckt conjugates with "haben" and is transitive (so it needs an object)

    The reflexive form "ich habe mich erschrocken/erschreckt" takes both conjugations but is marked in the Duden as colloquial.
    So instead of using it you can as well stick with the intransitive here (unless you really manage to scare yourself, of course ;o) )
    #5AuthorPanalotta12 Jul 05, 16:20
    The English example hein mück was trying to recall is probably the verb "to hang". There may be others.
    #6AuthorJoe W12 Jul 05, 16:24
    In fact the Duden says the reflexive "sich erschrecken" is colloquial and non-standard, and takes both conjugations. But for me, "ich habe mich erschrocken" sounds perfectly normal, while "ich habe mich erschreckt" sounds a little odd. In my feeling, the regular conjugation indicates some sort of action resulting in the "erschrecken". I would interpret "ich habe mich erschreckt" as if I was scared by something I have done to myself.
    #7Authordirk12 Jul 05, 16:31
    "Saw" (sawed, sawn) and "mow" (mowed, mown) fall into that category as well.

    Thanks to everyone, and especially to Panalotta for the summary. I only had Leo and Canoo at my disposal, and could not find any pattern with "erschrocken" combined with "haben".

    Sure, the meaning was clear, all along. But now, I don't have to add "erschrecken" to that rather long list of words I avoid using because I don't quite know how to.

    #8AuthorTom12 Jul 05, 16:34

    Funnily for me it's exactly the other way around. In fact "ich habe mich erschrocken" sounded so wrong to me I got out the Duden to check it. Maybe that's a regional difference...
    #9AuthorPanalotta12 Jul 05, 16:35
    "Ich habe mich erschrocken" ist in Österreich gänzlich unüblich. Hier heißt es immer "Ich bin erschrocken"
    #10AuthorAndi (AT)27 Oct 05, 16:06
    Ich als Badener kenne auch "ich bin erschrocken".
    #11AuthorMajuz27 Oct 05, 16:39

    I think it's not the only German verb that has irregular forms for intransitive and regular forms for transitive.

    There's some strange irony in it - if I do some sh.t to someone else it's the right thing (transitive, regular verb), if they do the same sh.t to me, it's the wrong thing (intransitive, irregular verb).

    I got scared of you (Dat., intransitive) - it's a bad thing (Ich bin erschrocken vor dir)

    I scared you (Akk, transitive) - it's totally fine (ich erschrak dich)

    Sorry I'm an idiot and my examples are almost always totally idiotic. :)

    #12Author Megavvolt (1256527) 31 Dec 18, 02:00

    Es heißt: Ich erschreckte dich.

    Ich erschrak ist nicht transitiv.

    To bear ist ein englisches Verb mit zwei Partizipformen mit unterschiedlicher Bedeutung.

    #13Author mbshu (874725) 31 Dec 18, 07:34
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