Though I provide all blog content for free, your support will be very much appreciated. Very formal, recipient has a special title that must be used in place of their name. You would use "dir" if you speak to a friend or a family member. Germans have a reputation of being serious and quite reserved, which you can also see in the language… and what shall I say?! Though there was a constant development during the last centuries in regards to which words to write with a capital letter, the last big change happened in 1996 with the “Reform der deutschen Rechtschreibung“. „Auf Wiederhören“ is directly translated as „It would be nice to hear from you again“ – as you can see, it is used as a formal way to say goodbye to someone you talk by phone in a formal … It’s more comprehensive, especially with more specific … Joining my new German conversation course might be the perfect solution for you! Dativ: Ich gebe Ihnen mein Versprechen. Remember that “du” is the equivalent of saying “hey you.” (formal) 3) Looks familiar to the first and second examples, right? Sie (Ihr, Ihnen, Ihre) Use K2 To recap: if you’re in Germany for only a short time, and if in doubt, use Sie. Unlike in English, most European and other languages also have both a familiar and a formal "you." – You seldomly come too late! In German, one needs to write several words with a capital letter. The formal Sie is used to address strangers, business associates, and acquaintances (Bekannte, as opposed to close friends, Freunde), and for most situations outside the family. If you want to communicate in informal speech, then there is no need for capitalization. 4) Let’s try a variation. is mostly used in a formal context. "Sie spricht Deutsch." The only difference here is we add “heute” meaning today. Ich danke dir / Ihnen / euch – “my thanks to you” In casual situations with friends or close colleagues, use “dir” or “euch” as the pronoun in this phrase. In this article, we will focus on when to write a personal pronoun in German with a capital letter. The German sie / Sie can mean she, they, or You (formal). Both can be translated as "you" but "dir" is used in informal situations and "Ihnen" is used in formal situations. Like we explained in “100+ Important Business German Words, Phrases and Sentences”, use the formal “Sie” form and not the “du” form of pronouns while writing. This website uses cookies. Sie, Ihr, Ihnen & Ihrer with a capital letter. Just another variation to say How are you in German. Germans are said to be overly formal and reserved and their language reflects it. Switch to "Vielen Dank für alles" to thank someone for multiple things. English uses the pronoun ‘it’ for all objects. Do you want to improve your spoken German? You use the formal "you" when talking to strangers or acquaintances, people more senior or important than you and in formal situations. It was slightly adjusted in minor aspects in 2011 and 2017 and is valid up to date. German translation of 'formal'. Today, we do not do this any longer for “du” and “ihr”. How you conjugate your verbs will depend on which word you use. You must log in or register to reply here. Retrieved from Schmitz, Michael. Please, someone could explain me what exactly "ihnen" means? (formal) How are you? Getting your hellos and goodbyes straight in German is a matter of keeping in mind how well you know someone. Take note that the formal greeting ends in a coma and the following opening line of the letter begins with a lowercase word. But German has a masculine ‘it’, a feminine ‘it’, and a neuter ‘it’ to use with masculine / feminine / … If you address more than one person formally, you use the formal form "Ihnen". he made them a formal bow er verbeugte sich formell or feierlich vor ihnen. Often, German students have problems understanding when they should write a personal pronoun with a capital letter. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. The formal pronoun for "you" is Sie in the nominative and accusative cases and Ihnen in the Dative. Danke translates to “thank you” or “thanks” and it … Note the initial capital letter in each. YIKES. Today, we do not do this any longer for “du” and “ihr”. When writing “Gehen sie nach Hause?”, one can easily realize that the sentence is referring to the plural “sie” as the verb is “gehen” and the “sie” is written with a small letter. Depending on the context of the email, use the appropriate formal language. Men are addressed formally as Herr followed by their surname, women as Frau followed by their surname. As mentioned above, one of the most apparent differences between informal and formal German is the different words for “you.” Sie is formal, while du is informal. This includes situations at work or between the teacher and student, but also the questions asked during a first meeting. — The universal “Thank you” in German. Sie (Ihr, Ihnen, Ihre) Use K2 One expression in German for sorry could be “Entschuldiung”. – I do not know you. For example, "Sie sprechen Deutsch." The German Word 'ihr' Is an Article and a Pronoun. However, as like many other languages, German still has a formal speech and actually this is a bit tricky as you will see in the following. "The German Word 'ihr' Is an Article and a Pronoun." – The key of your car / apartment is in my office. You can imagine that it is only used … German Formal vs Informal Speech Instructor: Penelope Heinigk Show bio Penelope holds a doctorate degree in German and a professional teaching license in the state of Colorado. Here’s a quick example: In written German, you can differentiate the two meanings because you always capitalize the pronoun if to means "usted": Culture In Germany, the Importance of Being Formal. / Wie geht es Ihnen? "Ihnen" is the dative form. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. – I give you my promise. We are using the third person plural ("they") as a formal way to address a person, corresponding to Spanish "usted". It is far better to be formal and for the German then to tell you to be less formal, than to address the other person with their first name when the they are used to be called Mr or Mrs. Thanks again berndf! You don't, it has to be clear from context. If you wish to get more information about other capitalized words in German, check out the Article “When to use capital letters in German“. It is one of the most important words in the German language because it can be used for different questions and statements. In the past, one needed to write you (du) and you plural (ihr) as well as Sie (you formal) with a capital letter in letters and official documents. Continue addressing the recipient formally throughout your German letter: use “Sie”, “Ihr”, and “Ihnen” as pronouns and don’t forget to capitalise the … There are two ways to say “you” in German: the formal “Sie” and the informal “du.” You should always use “Sie” in business relationships, unless directed otherwise. If you’re on formal terms — in other words, if you’re addressing one or more people with Sie (zee) (you, formal) — then you have one set of expressions. In this lesson we will learn the three forms of you in German: the singular familiar form, the plural familiar form, and the formal form that can be used to indicate singular or plural pronouns. Take Care When Using 'Du' and 'Sie' German makes a clear distinction between the singular, familiar "you" (​ du) and the plural, formal "you" (Sie) in social situations. German has 1 pronoun that has 3 different meanings. We are using the third person plural ("they") as a formal way to address a person, corresponding to Spanish "usted". As German has the four cases Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ, and Genitiv, this rule applies to the personal pronouns for each case. It may not display this or other websites correctly. Now, as “sie” (they) is already in use, there needs to be a possibility to differentiate between the two and actually the solution for this was the use of the capital letter. However, as like many other languages, German still has a formal speech and actually this is a bit tricky as you will see in the following. Danke! In the past, one needed to write you (du) and you plural (ihr) as well as Sie (you formal) with a capital letter in letters and official documents. Translating to “How are you?” in English, “Wie geht es dir” is the form used for close friends while “Wie geht es Ihnen” is the form you would use for people in authority (Read more about addressing a German: Sie / du). need to capitalize personal pronouns in German in case you refer to the formal speech. Besides the distinction between the informal and formal form of apologizing and asking questions, you can practice talking in German and saying sorry. You are using an out of date browser. German: Formal or Informal? Now, when we would write “Gehen Sie nach Hause?” with a capital letter, one could easily recognize the capitalized “Sie” and therefore connect it to the formal speech. In a more formal business setting, or when talking to someone who is older or in a position of authority, make sure you use the polite pronoun “Ihnen.” This demonstrates how German people keep their personal lives separate from business. When you’re working in a German office building like this one, you should always use “Sie” – unless you know that the office culture says otherwise. The German formal speech actually uses the 3rd person plural “sie” (they) for a single person as well as a group. However, in German, it is still an acceptable and formal way to address someone, even if we are talking about businessmen that are using the formal form of address “Sie” when communicating with each other. In this case, the cliché is correct. Wie geht es Ihnen? Akkusativ: Ich kenne Sie nicht. Become confident in speaking German with my online conversation classes for beginners and intermediates.Â. Hi there! If you want to say “yes” in German, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re agreeing to first. Like we explained in “100+ Important Business German Words, Phrases and Sentences”, use the formal “Sie” form and not the “du” form of pronouns while writing. "Ihnen" is the dative form. If you use the website further, we assume your consent. German has 3 different types of ‘it’. These are all different words for “you”, which are used to replace “ich”, “du”, and “Sie” when they are used in certain ways. By the way, the word “Hello” in German sounds almost the same as it does in English. If you are just starting out with the German language, this is probably the first time you have seen the words “mir”, “dir”, and “Ihnen”. If the recipient of the e-mail is unknown If the recipient of the e-mail is unknown, you would, in most cases, choose a formal salutation. 1. person, letter, relationship, behaviour, language formell , förmlich ; (= official) talks, statement, complaint, agreement, request formell , offiziell ; (= ceremonial) occasion, reception feierlich. This means either "You speak German" or "They speak German", and it is completely up to the context to determine which one it is. Dict.CC is a free online German-English dictionary that comes in handy if you need to look up a word fast. If you are unsure whether to be formal or informal, use the formal address. Highly informal, Jo is a slang that corresponds to our “yo”. Wie geht es Ihnen heute? [ˈfɔːməl] adjective. 🙂Â. The phrase "vielen Dank für … Genitiv: Der Schlüssel Ihres Autos / Ihrer Wohnung ist in meinem Büro. The formal address is used with unfamiliar adults, in business situations, with officials, or when shopping. JavaScript is disabled. Jo. This means you will always need to write the following pronouns with a capital letter if you speak in formal speech: Nominativ: Selten kommen Sie zu spät! From Lesson 01.06 Abschied III Anrede "Ihnen" is the following sentence: Ich wünsche Ihnen eine gute Nacht. The question "Wie geht es Ihnen?" How are you today? Back to German: Formal and casual Greetings • Wie geht es dir? The verbs following the formal form of "you"—"Sie"—are conjugated identically as in the third-person plurals. I hope that it is clear now, that you only (!) The Scandinavians, for example, deliberately ignore their formal … German speakers often mention the frase „Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Tag“ – I wish you’ll have a good day! Find out everything you need to know in this article.Â. You've really helped me. Someone told me that it can mean "you" (plural) or "they", but how do I know when it means one or another? Dear Sir, Sehr geehrter Herr, ... falls wir Ihnen weiter behilflich sein können.