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Why put "dir" in that sentence?

Wir verstehen uns nicht besonders gut, wie du dir bestimmt vorstellen kannst.

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Why put "dir" in that sentence? Could I understand it as " you could image yourself" ? And that "dir" equal "yourself" in that sentence?

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    Why put "dir" in that sentence? Could I understand it as " you could image yourself" ? And that "dir" equal "yourself" in that sentence?

    Yes, "dir" is equal to "yourself". The verb pattern is "sich (Dat.) etwas vorstellen" (to imagine something), so you have to write "du kannst dir etwas vorstellen" with the appropriate reflexive pronoun.

    Don't try to understand verb patterns by translating them literally into English, that won't work. You can try to explain how this pattern probably came into use: "vor-stellen" literally means "to put in front of something", the dative case is often used for the purpose or the one who benefits from an action, so the idea is something like "put that image in front of your mind's eye for your benefit".

    But I as a native speaker don't think that way. For me, it's just a pattern with a specific meaning. I guess for a student of German, the most efficient way is just to learn the verb patterns by heart, instead of only learning the verb alone, and not to try to reconstruct them by explaining them.

     

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