2018 Edition Sale

Get a huge 60% off
- limited time only

See Offer!
×

German Pronouns

In English, when talking to people about ourselves, or when we talk about people in general, we use short words like “I”, “you”, “we”, and “they”. These words are called pronouns . German pronouns are the same, with a few twists!

There are two ways of saying “you” in English, but there are four ways of saying it in German! The rules are pretty straight forward, so just relax. We’ll take you through these principles step by step.

How to pronounce German Pronouns

One or more?

Below you can see the German pronouns in the singular form, as in when talking about a single person, and plural form, as used when talking about a group of people.

Just one (singular)

More than one (plural)

Which “You” is You ?

You will notice that pronouns in the singular and plural forms (as described above) both have a “you”, (du and Sie in German). Back in the days of Shakespeare, people used the words “thou” and “thee” to address their friends or loved ones (royals were addressed with the more formal “you” and “ye”). These polite forms of “you” have fallen out of use in modern-day English, but German has maintained a distinction between familiar and polite forms of “you” which are used in the following ways:

The “sie” form of “you” is used in a global way when you are addressing several other people, not including yourself. “Sie “ also means “she”

The “Sie” form of “you” is also used when you wish to be polite or show respect to an individual or a group. You might use it with strangers, the elderly, teachers, or authority figures. In German, addressing someone with “Sie” always creates a respectful distance which can be very useful to emphasize a point. “Sie” is spelled with a capital “S” when used in a formal way.

The “du” form of “you” is used to speak to children, friends, family members, or loved ones in a casual, relaxed and familiar way

The “ihr” form of “you” is used when you are addressing several other people, not including yourself in a casual way, like “you guys”.

If you are in doubt, just use the polite form “Sie”. A relationship often begins with the more formal “Sie” and progresses to the more casual “du”.

In short:

Addressing people in a global or collective sense = sie

Addressing individuals or groups in a formal respectful way = Sie

Addressing someone in a casual sense = du

Addressing a group in a casual way = ihr

For example:

Asking
Brauchst du Hilfe?
Shopping
Sie wollen Schuhe für Marie kaufen.
Playing
Ihr könnt draußen spielen.
Market

Here are a few recommended German lessons to try next!

Bis bald!
Paul Weber
Paul Weber
Rocket German

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket German testing tools! Improve your knowledge of German!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Hear It Say It!

<{percentComplete['hearit']}>% Complete

Improve your understanding of spoken German. With Hear it Say it! you can tune your ear to German, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation at the same time! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio (and touch up your pronunciation with Rocket Record if you like; Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Just click your RATING to continue

See how many words you've rated at each level below. Just click on the number below each rating to review your words and phrases.

Write It!

<{percentComplete['writeit']}>% Complete

Write it! helps you to improve your written German and your understanding of sentence structures. Just listen to the audio and type in what you hear!

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio
  • WRITE down, in German, what you hear
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Your answer will be automatically RATED, just click the rating to continue

Tip!

Click the keyboard icon for a German keyboard

Know It!

<{percentComplete['knowit']}>% Complete

Know it! tests you on your ability to translate English to German! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • READ the word/phrase
  • RECORD yourself saying it in German (Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase in German and listen to the German audio

Over 1,200,000 people love Rocket Languages

Here's what Rocket Languages members have to say:

Andrei Freeman - Pennsylvania, USA

Andrei
Freeman

Pennsylvania, USA

Rudi Kopp - USA

Rudi
Kopp

USA

Carmen Franceschino - Pennsylvania, USA

Carmen
Franceschino

Pennsylvania, USA

Kelly Scali - Chicago, USA

Kelly
Scali

Chicago, USA

Mark Waddel - Auckland, NZ

Mark
Waddell

Auckland, NZ

William McGill - Florida, USA

William
McGill

Florida, USA

Probably the best language tool I've come across. Actually love it more than Rosetta Stone and Duolingo

Try our award-winning online German course for FREE 受賞歴ありの英語学習ソフトウェアを無料でお試しください Pruebe nuestro galardonado software del idioma inglés GRATIS

(And see how easy it actually is to learn German... even if you've tried and failed before) (そして英語学習がどれだけ簡単か、肌で感じてみてください…今までに失敗したことのある人でもそれが分かるでしょう) (Y vea qué tan fácil es en realidad aprender inglés… aún si lo ha intentado y fallado antes)