Du vs. Sie in German

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Du vs. Sie

Du (singular) and ihr (plural) are used for informal relationships: family, friends, children and people of the same age. 

Hallo Anna, was machst du?

Hi Anna, what are you doing?

Tim, du sollst nicht so laut sprechen!

Tim, you shouldn’t talk so loud!

Hallo Kinder, habt ihr Hunger?

Hello children, are you hungry?

Sie (singular or plural) is used for formal relationships: strangers, older people, professional relationships.

Liebe Gäste, wir verstehen Sie.

Dear guests, we understand you.

Frau Brandenbutt, wie alt sind Sie?

Mrs. Brandenbutt, how old are you?

Darf ich Sie duzen?

May I say ‘du’ to you?


  • We write du with a lower-case d, but Sie (polite) is written with a capital S!
  • Using du to someone is known as duzen. Saying Sie is called siezen.

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