1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Mit Ihnen zu reden, war mir e…


Mit Ihnen zu reden, war mir eine Freude.

  • 1389

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".

December 26, 2017



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

  • 1389

I never have seen mir with an "e"; mire. Have I missed something?


Oops, autocorrect is turning it into the nearest English word ! I’m trying to fix it!


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 you mean "you" it does,

  • 1389

It does what, have to be capitalized? Is it formal then? And yes, it means "you".

So if it means "them" like in: Mach ihnen die hölle heiß!; it would not be capitalized? So if it is not capitalized it means "them"?


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'.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.