Learn German Easily

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She, You and They in German

sie/Sie (confusing German word)

She and they in German - Learn German Easily

What do the words you, they and she mean in German?
This question is often asked and when I answer all three mean sie then a lot of people are confused.

They ask if they in German means sie, she in German means sie and also you in German means sie, then how on earth can you distinguish between the meanings?

I know, I know, this personal pronoun is a little tricky because it not only has three meanings, sometimes you can even see it with a capital letter.

sie, sie und Sie – what ???

Here are the three meanings:

she = sie
they = sie
you (polite) = Sie

And to make it not too easy (just kidding) you have to know that we have two different words in German for the English personal pronoun you:

1) du
2) Sie*

*Please note that it is always written with a capital S.

We use Sie (when we talk to strangers, our boss, waiters, authority figures like police officers or in general when we talk to people who we don’t know so well.

We use the word du when we talk to people who we know very well for example our friends and family and we use it when we talk to kids.

She, You and They in German – Exercise A

How to learn with part A of the exercise

  1. Read and listen a few times.
  2. Repeat after the speaker.
  3. Make sure that you imitate the pronunciation of the speaker.
  4. After a few repetitions go on to part B (farther below).

Tip: Always try to imagine the situations in your mind; it will help you to remember the words!

She and they in German

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Have a look at the example sentences and you will understand the differences: 

sie = she

Maria trinkt gerne Wasser.
Maria likes to drink water.

Sie trinkt gerne Wasser.
She likes to drink water.

_ _ _

sie = they

Männer trinken gerne Bier.
Men like to drink beer.

Sie trinken gerne Bier.
They like to drink beer.

_ _ _

Sie = you (polite)

Talking to a stranger:
Können Sie mir helfen?
Could you help me?

_ _ _

du = you (familiar)

Talking to a friend:
Kannst du mir helfen?
Could you help me?

_ _ _

Sie = you (polite)

Talking to a stranger:
Entschuldigen Sie!
Excuse me!

Sie stehen in einer Pfütze.
You are standing in a puddle.

_ _ _

du = you (familiar)

Talking to a friend:
Hey, du stehst in einer Pfütze.
Hey, you are standing in a puddle.

Can you pronounce the word ‘Pfütze‘ that appears in the last sentence?

Did you notice the u umlaut?

Follow the pink link and I’ll show you how the umlauts are pronounced correctly.

She, You and They in German – Exercise B

The best way to learn with part B

Question and Answer Part:

  1. Read and listen many times to the questions/answers.
  2. Answer in the pauses (you may look at the answers).
  3. After a few times don’t look at the answers anymore.
  4. Imitate the pronunciation of my voice.
  5. Repeat this lesson until you can answer all questions easily.

 

She and they in German

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Questions and Answers 

Frage:
Was trinkt Maria gerne – Wasser oder Limonade?

Kurze Antwort:
Wasser 

Lange Antwort:
Maria trinkt gerne Wasser.

Wer (who) trinkt gerne Wasser? 

Maria
Maria trinkt gerne Wasser.

Was trinken Babys gerne? 

Milch
Babys trinken gerne Milch.
Und sie trinken besonders gerne (particularly fond of) Muttermilch (breast milk).

Trinken Männer auch gerne Muttermilch? 

Nein, natürlich nicht (of course not).
Männer trinken doch keine Muttermilch.

Was trinken Männer gerne? 

Bier
Männer trinken gerne Bier.
Das weiß doch jedes Baby.
(Every baby knows that.)

Was ist in einer Regenpfütze* – Wasser oder Limonade? 

Wasser
In einer Regenpfütze ist Wasser.
Keine Limonade.
Also niemals aus einer Pfütze trinken! (So never drink from a puddle!)

 

*Regenpfütze is a compound word. We have the word Regen (rain) and Pfütze (puddle) in it. We Germans love compound words.

Do you know the word: Windschutzscheibenwaschanlage? = windscreen washer

Crazy isn’t it?

The „pf“ Sound in German

The „pf“ sound is not easy!

And it is ok if you just use an F-sound instead of a PF-sound.

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p + f = pf 

Pfütze, Pfütze oder sage einfach Pfütze (mit einem F-Laut).

Pfütze, Pfütze or just say Pfütze (with an F–sound).

Pferd, Pferd oder Pferd (mit einem F-Laut).

Pferd, Pferd or Pferd (with an F-sound).

(Das Pferd = the horse)

Don’t worry about the difficult pronunciation!

You will get better and better, you just need a lot of practice.

Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen!

Means: No one is born a master!

And by the way, don’t worry about your accent. I have an accent too.

Whenever I talk English I have a German accent – so what? I don’t care!

After all I’m German and not English.

Nobody needs to be perfect!

She and they in German

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The regular verb ‘trinken’

Here is a little bonus:

We used the word trinken (to drink) above and I want to show you how to conjugate this regular verb:

Und nur zum Üben (just for practice):

Ich trinke

Du trinkst

Er, sie, es trinkt

Wir trinken

Ihr trinkt

Sie trinken

!
Don't stop now - repeat this part again!

Repeat this lesson until you can easily answer the questions.

s
Er, sie, es instead of the noun

In the next lesson, you’ll be able to practice how to replace the article and the noun with er, sie or es.

You can review all personal pronouns with my repetition lesson and learn how to say I love you in German.

>>> Er, sie, es – Learn how to use them

You can find more lessons in my main menu above!

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