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Du, ihr and Sie – many forms of 'you' in German

 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:28 am    Post subject: Du, ihr and Sie – many forms of 'you' in German Reply with quote

Unlike in English where 'you' is the only form to address a second person, in German you have three different words for it: Du, ihr and Sie.

Du – you (informal and singular form to address someone like a close friend, or family member)

ihr – you guys (plural form of 'du', when you address more than one person, like a group of people; it's still informal way)

Sie - when you address a respected person (formal), like your teacher or a stranger etc. Never mind, it's plural form is also 'Sie'.


Let's see few examples:

Kommst du heute Abend zu meiner Party? - Are you coming to my party tonight?

Kommst du aus Ägypten? - Do you come from Egypt?


Kommt ihr heute Abend alle zu meiner Party? - Are you guys (all) coming to my party tonight?

Kommt ihr aus Ägypten?- Do you (guys) come from Egypt?


Möchten Sie gerne eine Tasse Kaffee? - Would you like a cup of coffee?

Kommen Sie aus Ägypten? - Do you come from Egypt?

Look, in both examples (above) 'Sie' ist singular and formal. You are asking only one person. He or she is a respected one, may be a guest or stranger.

Now come on, let's say in a Supermarket you see a group of people speaking in arabic and you don't know exactly where they are from. You guess, they are from Egypt. So you ask them:

Kommen Sie aus Ägypten? - Do you come from Egypt? (look it's formal and you are addressing a group, plural)


By the way, when written with small 's', then 'sie' can stand for either 'she' or 'they'

Wer ist sie? - Who is she?

Sie ist meine Schwester - She is my sister


Wo wohnen deine Eltern? - Where do your parents live?

Sie wohnen in Berlin – They live in Berlin.




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