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https://www.duolingo.com/JacobPietras

Differences between "Ni" and "Du", what one should I use?

The title says it all. Throughout my short time learning Swedish I have become fairly confused when writing "you." Despite this being a small issue, I still am so confused on what the difference between "Ni" and "Du," when they both mean "you."

Tack!

3 years ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/landsend
landsend
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English uses the same pronoun you for single persons and groups. Most other languages distinct between those. "Du" is for a single person, "ni" is for a group of persons. English does the distinction in the other persons (first and third) also: I/We, He/They. The second person in English is an oddity.

You shouldn't use ni for formal address in Swedish nowadays. The cases where it is correct are so rare that you probably will get specific instruction just in time from the Nobel committee before holding your appreciation speech where you address the king. No need to learn that now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lydiaoxenstierna

They're different in terms of formality- 'ni' is the very formal singular and both informal/formal plural of 'you'. But 'du' is informal and can only be used as singular 'you'. Also, 'ni' is almost never used as a singular and it's even possible to indicate distance between you and the person you're talking to. That's Svenska! :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Snommelp
Snommelp
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Formal singular ni has fallen so far out of use that it's almost not even worth bringing up; in fact, I've heard it said that some older Swedes might take offense at the use of the singular ni, because it implies that you think of the other person as practically a stranger.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alpine_Ink
Alpine_Ink
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'Du' is a singular 'you' while 'Ni' is plural 'you' English does not differentiate between the singular and plural 'you' but many other languages do, like German and French as well.

3 years ago