Sie sind in der Stadt. This could mean both 'They are in town'. Or 'We are in the town'
Is there any way to tell these two parts of the verb apart? Don't things like this get confusing in conversations?
August 8, 2007
"Sie sind in der Stadt" means "they are in town". If you want to say "we are in town" you would use "Wir sind in der Stadt".
"Sie" can mean "they" as well as "you" (the polite version of you) or "she". If someone asked you where your sister is you would say: "Sie ist in der Stadt". In this case you can tell that "sie" refers to "she" because the verb form is "ist" and not "sind".
Does that make sense?
August 8, 2007
I made a mistake with this question the two pronouns i find confusing are
sie sind = they are
Sie sind = you are (formal to a group)
Those are the two that appear to have no way to differentiate between them, or am I missing something?
August 9, 2007
one thing that might help is the fact that "Sie" (formal "you") is always spelled with a capital letter, so as long as the "Sie" shows up in the middle of a sentence you will be able to tell which one it is.
I hope I don't add to your confusion, but "Sie" actually refers to a single person as well as a group. Everytime you want to address someone in a formal way you use "Sie", no matter whether it's one person or a whole group.
As I mentioned earlier, you can usually tell from the context which "Sie/sie" it is. Let's have a look at the English "you" and "you".
"Could you help me please" could mean "you" (as in an individual) or "you" (as in you and you friend for example), but more often than not you will know which "you" it is because of the context.
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