The pronoun man

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The pronoun man

We use man (one, they, "you" in a general sense):

  • for general statements or to refer to one or more unspecified persons:

Man darf hier nicht rauchen.

You are not allowed to smoke here.

In Österreich spricht man Deutsch.

They speak German in Austria.

Wo kann man hier gut essen?

Where can one get a decent meal around here?

  • passively to mean jemand (someone):

Man hat meine Tasche gestohlen.

Someone has stolen my bag.

Man hat mir gesagt, dass das Essen hier gut sei.

I was told that the food is good here.

The verb always appears in the singular (the same as for er, sie, es):

Man sieht nur mit dem Herzen gut. SEHEN

One only sees clearly with the heart.

Wie bekommt man ein Stipendium? BEKOMMEN

How does one get a scholarship?

Notes:

  • we use einen or einem (one, to one) rather than man in the accusative and dative:

Die Weltpolitik kann einen wirklich frustrieren.

One can become very frustrated by world politics.

Schlechtes Wetter sollte einem egal sein!

One shouldn't be bothered by bad weather!

  • The word man (one, they, you) and (der) Mann (the man) are not the same! We can use man to refer to a woman or a group of women.

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