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The German Language Series: Part III - "Du" or "Sie", Basic Introductions, and Personal Pronouns

Updated on September 15, 2011

Du oder Sie?

In Germany, a person can address another with either du or Sie. Both words equate to “you” in the English language. Yet, du is used when referring to family, friends, fellow students, or children, while Sie is used in situations where there is not yet a sense of familiarity, such as when speaking to strangers or acquaintances.

With these distinctions in mind, here are some conversational basics. The first instance will depict a formalized meeting between two stranger, while the second scenario will be a conversation between friends.

Formal Conversation Basics

Vocabulary Included:

Herr: Sir

Frau: Ma’am

Guten Tag: Good day

Mein Name ist: My name is…

Ihr: your (formal)

Wie ist Ihr Name? : What is your name?

Woher kommen Sie? Where do you come from

Ich bin: I am

Und: and

Aus: From/ out of

Ich komme aus: I come from/ out of


Remember, all personal pronouns in this conversations referring to “you” are formalized.

Herr H. : Guten Tag! Mein Name ist Norbert Hoffman. Und wie ist Ihr Name?

Frau K. : Hallo! Ich bin Sabrina Kappes.

Herr H. : Woher kommen Sie, Frau Kappes?

Frau K. : Aus München. Und Sie?

Herr H. : Ich komme aus Hamburg.

Informal Conversation Basics

Vocabulary Included:

Grüß dich: Hello to you

Wie geht’s dir? : How’s it going?

Nicht slecht: Not bad

Und du? : And you?

Sehr Gut: Very good

Danke: Thank you

Mir geht’s… : I’m doing… (As in “I’m doing well”)

Bis später dann: Till later, then

Tschüss: Bye


Anna: Grüß dich. Wie geht’s dir?

Matthias: Nicht slecht, danke. Und du?

Anna: Mir geht’s sehr gut.

Matthias: Bis später dann!

Anna: Ja, tschüss!


First Person

-wir (we)

Second Person

-ihr (you all)

-Sie (formal)

Third Person

-sie (they)

Personal Pronouns

Learning a little grammar with basic phrases might help in understanding.

A fundamental of sentence structure is personal pronouns. Not only will these indicate the proper conjugation of verbs, but will also serve as objects of a sentence.

The following personal pronouns are in the nominative case. The only one that should be capitalized is the formal form of “you”.


First Person

-ich (I)

Second Person

-du (you)

-Sie (formal ‘you’)

Third Person

-er (he)

-sie (she)

-es (it)

Here Is a Conversation with Similar Vocabulary


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    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Thank you moma, both for appreciating the hub as well as the vote of confidence.

      It definitely is a process, and I'm actually enjoying the uncertainty of everything at the moment.


    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 

      7 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      great hub! read your profile...don't worry, some of us don't find our way until we're's a process. take care! voted up & useful

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      @ Crochet:

      Please keep reading them. There are plenty more to come!

      @ kschimmel:

      Vielen Dank!


    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, USA


    • crochet48 profile image


      7 years ago from Southern New Mexico

      Lilith, I find these German language hubs fascinating because I lived in Aschaffenburg some years ago. My sons both took German, with my younger progressing to AP German and spending three weeks in Mosbach with his class and exchange families. Thank you!

    • asmaiftikhar profile image


      7 years ago from Pakistan

      lilth that is my honour.and i am fond of learning languages just to learn about their literature and original history.

    • Lilith Eden profile imageAUTHOR

      Lilith Eden 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN


      I am so glad that you are able to use the information that I'm providing!

      As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing.


    • asmaiftikhar profile image


      7 years ago from Pakistan

      grubdich .frou sie really an amazing part of language for the basic learners.after reading this i learn 3 words at once to write a comment for you.hope did't disappoint you.keep it up and voted up.


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