Dialogue

Vocabulary

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Michael: What’s the difference between the pronouns du and Sie?
Anja: And what about dir and Ihnen?
Michael: At GermanPod101.com, we hear these questions often.
Imagine the following situation. Sasha Lee, got lost during a school trip. Her teacher, Tanja Tannenberg, calls her and asks:
"Where are you?"
Tanja Tannenberg: Wo bist du?
Tanja Tannenberg: Wo bist du?
Sasha Lee: Am Alexanderplatz. Wo sind Sie?
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Tanja Tannenberg: Wo bist du?
Michael: "Where are you?"
Sasha Lee: Am Alexanderplatz. Wo sind Sie?
Michael: "At Alexanderplatz. Where are you?"
Michael: You probably have noticed that when asking the question, "Where are you?" the teacher and Sasha used a different pronoun to say "you."
Anja: du
Michael: is the informal pronoun "you," and is written in all lowercase letters. It is usually used when talking to family or friends, or children and young adults under the age of 16. In more formal situations, such as an official meeting or a business transaction, and when talking to people we need to show respect to, it is best to instead use the formal pronoun
Anja: Sie
Michael: just as Sasha did when addressing her teacher.
Unlike "du,"
Anja: Sie
Michael: is written with a capital "S."
Michael: How about
Anja: dir
Michael: and
Anja: Ihnen?
Michael: The pronouns
Anja: dir
Michael: and
Anja: Ihnen
Michael: are the equivalent of the pronouns
Anja: du
Michael: and
Anja: Sie
Michael: just inflected for the dative case. In other words,
Anja: dir
Michael: is "you" as the informal indirect object and
Anja: Ihnen
Michael: is "you" as the formal indirect object. For example, if you wanted to ask your friend the question "Can I help you?," where "you" is the indirect object, you would say,
Anja: Kann ich dir helfen?
Michael: but if you would like to ask the same question to a stranger, your boss, or a teacher, you would use the formal indirect object pronoun "Ihnen,"
Anja: Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?
Michael: Let’s summarize what we have learned so far. "Du" is the informal way to say "you," and "Sie" is its formal counterpart. "Dir" is "du" inflected for the dative case, and it fulfills the role of an informal indirect pronoun. Similarly, "Ihnen" is "Sie" inflected for the dative case, and it fulfills the role of a formal indirect pronoun. Now, let’s consider some examples.
Michael: Our first example is
Anja:
Du bist wunderbar. (enunciated).
Du bist wunderbar.
Michael: "You are wonderful." This uses the informal personal pronoun,
Anja: du.
Michael: You could say this, for example, to your friend.
A more formal version of this would be
Anja:
Sie sind wunderbar (enunciated).
Sie sind wunderbar.
Michael: "You are wonderful." This uses the formal pronoun,
Anja: Sie,
Michael: and could be used, for example, by an excited child to tell their teacher how much they appreciate the lesson.
Anja:
Ich danke Dir. (enunciated).
Ich danke Dir.
Michael:
"[I] thank you." This uses the informal indirect object pronoun
Anja: dir,
Michael: and could be used to thank someone you are close to or have met informally.
Anja:
Ich danke Ihnen (enunciated).
Ich danke Ihnen.
Michael:
"[I] thank you." This uses the formal indirect object pronoun,
Anja: Ihnen
Michael: and could be used to thank someone like a professor or a supervisor, or during a formal speech.
Michael: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then repeat after the German speaker, focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how the teacher, TANJA TANNENBERG says,
"Where are you?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Anja: Wo bist du?
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Anja: Wo bist du?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Anja: Wo bist du?
Michael: And do you remember how SASHA LEE said,
"Where are you?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Anja: Wo sind Sie?
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Anja: Wo sind Sie?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Anja: Wo sind Sie?
Michael: Now, one last insider hint. If you are unsure which one to use, opt for "Sie." It is considered more polite to use this pronoun, and if the other person finds it too formal, they will usually suggest switching to "du."
Michael: Now you know the difference between the four pronouns
Anja: du, Sie, dir,
Michael: and
Anja: Ihnen.
Michael: Great job! Be sure to download the lesson notes for this lesson at GermanPod101.com — and move onto the next lesson!

3 Comments

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GermanPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What German learning question do you have?

GermanPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 01:11 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hallo robert groulx,


Danke schön for posting. We are very happy to have you here. Let us know if you have any questions.


Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Levente

Team GermanPod101.com

robert groulx
Wednesday at 01:54 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thank you for the lesson transcript


favorite phrase is Am Alexanderplatz. Wo sind Sie?


robert