Du oder Sie

German has different ways to say you depending on who you're talking to. In casual conversation, like with friends or family, you can use du. When talking to strangers or authority figures, it's common to use Sie instead.


Du bist sehr süß

You are very cute (informal)

Sie sind eine brillante Wissenschaftlerin

You are a brilliant scientist (formal)

Note that Sie when capitalized means the formal you, but the lowercase sie also means "they" or "she". Don't get them mixed up!


Ja, Sie sind richtig

Yes, you are right (formal)

Nein, sie sind keine Kamele

No, they are not camels

Vorsicht, sie ist eine furchtbare Feindin

Beware, she is a fearsome enemy

Similar to "they" in English, the singular Sie and plural sie both use Sie sind like "they are". The "she" meaning of sie uses sie ist. This sind/ist difference, along with the casing, can help you figure out from context which of the three meanings is being used.

Ist das Ihr Eichhörnchen, Sir?
Is that your squirrel, sir?
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