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German Mistake: "Ich bin kalt."


German Mistake: Ich bin kalt
Correct: Mir ist es kalt.

Obviously the incorrect version is an anglicism. Ich bin kalt is a typical German mistake that many students make at first. The correct version, Mir ist es kalt, uses the dative of ich, namely mir. In essence, you are saying "It is cold to me." However if you want to say "I am freezing," you can express it in several ways:

As a regular verb -> Ich friere.
As an impersonal verb -> Mich friert/Es friert mich.

If you want to state that a specific body part is freezing, then that part of the sentence will be in the dative:

Es friert mich an …(dative).
Es friert mich an den Füßen. (My feet are freezing.)

Similarly, you can also say: Ich habe kalte Füße.

Related Expressions

Other expressions stated in the same way as Mir ist es kalt, are as follows:

  • Mir ist es warm.
    Mir wird es warm
    (I am getting warm)

  • Mir tut (etwas) weh.
    My (something) hurts.
    Ihr tut der Kopf weh.

    Word order can be moved around:

    Der Kopf tut ihr weh.
    Mein Bein tut mir weh.
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