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They sound similar, but not the same. "ihr" sounds similar to English "ear" and "er" sounds similar to English "air" (imagine a British/RP accent). Have a listen to them back to back.
If you can't tell the difference, you need more practice. Developing your listening comprehension takes time. Also, try using headphones. This will greatly improve your comprehension.
That is not a particular thing just for trinken, but applies to all regular verbs which make up the vast majority of verbs. From the infinitive form remove the -en and replace it with the correct ending corresponding to the person: trinken --> trink
ich trinke, du trinkst, er/sie/es trinkt, etc.
gucken (to look) --> guck:
ich gucke, du guckst, er/sie/es guckt, etc.
If you learn that once you can conjugate almost all verbs.
No. ihr is just the personal pronoun for the plural you (i.e. you all, y'all). It refers to a group of people you address directly. She is the personal pronoun for just a single female person or thing you talk about.
However ihr can also be a possessive pronoun meaning her, but I believe that will come in a later lesson.
When used as subject, ihr is only "you" as in "you all".
ich = I, du = you (informal), er = he, sie = she, es = it, wir = we, ihr = you (plural), sie = they, Sie = you (formal).
You can tell "sie" (she) from "sie" (they) or "Sie" (you) by the verb: Sie trinken Wasser = You/They are drinking water, Sie trinkt Wasser = She drinks water.
Look into the grammar explanations in the Basics units.
The form for "ihr" takes the "t" ending like the form for "er/sie/es". Ich trinke, du trinkst, er/sie/es trinkt, wir trinken, ihr trinkt, sie/Sie trinken. For the vowel-changing verbs the plural forms don't change the vowel: ich helfe, du hilfst, er/sie/es hilft, wir helfen, iht helft, sie/Sie helfen.
What is the difference between "du" and "ihr", and "trinkt" means "is drinking". Then why is it "are drinking"
Well, both translate to you in English. du is used if you talk to a single person (Can you give me the salt, please). ihr is used if you talk to a group of people for example you have a family dinner and say to your family: "Thank you (all) for coming here today".
Apparently English used to have this distinction in earlier times as well, but somehow got rid of it, but there is you all or y'all used in some areas of the us nowadays which kind of reintroduces it (maybe that helps). If you have studied a latin language before you'll find the same behaviour. For French tu=du and vous=ihr.
Regarding your other question it is just a matter of English grammar. If you use you the correct form of to be is are.