Mit Ihnen zu reden, war mir eine Freude.
Does Ihnen need to be capitalized? Is this formal or not? Also in this sentence: Es steht Ihnen frei zu gehen. Is this formal? Does Ihnen need to be capitalized?
Thank a lot. I have a hard time with "Ihnen".
You can write this sentence two ways, with each having a different meaning:
Mit Ihnen zu reden, war mir eine Freude= it was a pleasure to speak with you (you could imagine saying ‚your honour‘ at the end)
Mit ihnen zu reden, war mir eine Freude= it was a pleasure to speak with them,
Hope this helps
The “Sie” (formal you) is always capitalized, and historically it was derived from the 3rd person plural “sie” (they) and all its respective grammatical variants (ihnen, ihr) which are never capitalized, except for at the beginning of a sentence.
A similar thing happened in English, when people started using the plural “you” also for singular, instead of the original “thou”. In French the same, formal you is derived from 2nd person plural. Apparently it’s more polite to treat someone like they were several people instead of just one. :)
If its capitalized, then its the formal way of saying 'you', used with strangers, or like a boss/teacher/customer etc. It's always written like that according to the rules of writing, so yeah it does have to be.
If its not then it just means they. Same with 'Sie' and 'Ihr'.