ihr seid or sie sind
As far as I understand from learning German through DuoLingo and through Rosetta Stone, ihr is informal "you" (plural) and sie (lower case "s") is also informal, plural "you". If this isn't right can someone please help me with the difference? If it is correct, how do I know when to use ihr seid or when to use sie sind? I can find a lot of answers through Google but everything I'm finding addresses Sie (which I understand is formal) and not sie. Bitte and danke!
ihr is informal you in plural, this is correct.
sie on the other hand, with small letter s, can either mean she/her or they/them, but does not mean you.
When you talk directly to a group of people, you say "Ihr seid ...", "You are ...". If you talk about a group of people not present, you say "Sie sind ...", "They are ..."
sie sind, with a lower case s in sie, is third-person plural, "they are". It would need an upper-case S to be the formal you. "Sie sind".
Granted, at the beginning of a sentence, or in a verbal conversation, it could be either they or the formal you, but the context of the conversation will help you know which one it means.
Hello Kim! As far as I understand:
You (Plural/Singular - Formal)
You (Plural - Informal)
You (Singular/Plural - Formal)
She - (Singular)
ihr/Ihr seid - You are (Informal - Plural, Formal - Plural/Singular)
Sie sind - You are (Formal - Singular)
sie sind - They are (Plural)
sie ist - She is (Singular)
I am open for corrections, this confused me before too.
Good luck! AP4418
You got it, Dessert-Rose; just a tiny detail; "Sie" (capital letter) is indeed formal, but can be either singular or plural. You can adress several persons at once in the "Sie" form, when you would at least one of them.
And "Ihr" is plural informal in nominative, feminine singular third person in the dative http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/pronouns/personal-possessive-pronouns/ The capital letter occurs only at the beginning of the sentence
Thanks for that Vabelie! But, I heard that "Ihr" (with capital "I") is a formal form recently. (I can't find the post, but I know it was recently.)
I heard that "Ihr" (with capital "I") is a formal form recently
Are you thinking of "the royal you" by any chance?
Yep! I didn't know there was a difference. I assumed that it was the Formal he/she was talking about! :D What is the difference?
Well, the name says it all: you use the royal you only with royalty. I heard it once was the common polite form (making German more similar to French), but they switched at some point from second person plural to third person. Languages are living things :)
Vabelie - So can one say Sind Sie Deutscher to several people at once meaning "Are you all German?" I don't know abut this.
Signed, Grammatically confused.
I'd say npLam is right. But if the "all" is implied, that's what I actually asked a bunch of times last summer (Deustche, though, der Deutscher, die Deutsche), and got only pleased looks ;)
Actually, it's easier for me, as it works the same as my native :) You'll get there, you're a hard worker, it shows :)
The "formal you" itself can never mean "they". However, all the forms of the "formal you" (for 2nd person singular and plural) are "borrowed" from the German word used for 3rd person plural ("they") which is exactly the same word (and uses exactly the same verbal endings) with the sole difference of not being capitalized (except for at the beginning of a sentence, which results in ambiguities). Historically a plural form was to chosen to address persons formally (which can be found in many languages; some choose 2nd person plural, some 3rd person).
Thank you Dessert-Rose! I love information neatly lined out like this. Now I'll make some flashcards for my son and myself and we'll get this learned. And thanks for the Web link Vabelie - I'll be checking it out.