Hot answers tagged address
Just ignore the "Du" and reply using "Sie".
The simple answer is: "Sie" is always appropriate unless you are addressing a child. However, there are a lot of situations where the "Du" is more common today; this includes most usages in forums, blogs or social networks, leading to the belief that it is accepted for general use. Some companies use it as a form of corporate identity. Ikea and Apple come ...
I would stick with "Hallo Thomas!". At least that's what I'm using most of the time, and it seems to fit pretty well :-)
IMO there is no really polite way to (directly) say this, because there will always be a undertone of "I don't like you that much" whether it is true or not. Addressing a salesperson using "Sie" yourself is worth a try.
"Sie" is mostly used in a formal context, if you are writing a manual addressing older or business readers you would use that. "Du" could be used to address younger readers or gamers. It's possible as well to avoid using either "Du" or "Sie" by indirectly talking to the user or using "man". eg "Du kannst das auf diese Art machen" and "Sie können das auf ...
This stems from an older German meaning and usage. Historically monarchs use that form of address as a majestic form which is different from the sense of two friends at a pub. Here the "Du" (often capitalized as well) would be translated "thou" in English. It's the same usage as in the Bible, "Du sollst nicht töten" ("Thou shalt not kill"). It actually comes ...
It gets a bit more clear why the Generalanzeiger used "Euren" instead of "Ihren": In diesem besonderen Jahr, in dem ich mich erneut in Euren Dienst stelle, hoffe ich, dass wir alle an die Kraft der Gemeinsamkeit und an die Stärke von Familie, Freundschaft und guter Nachbarschaft erinnert werden (emphasis by me) This is supposed to create a notion of ...
Additionally to Du and Sie afaik its quite common to use Wir in special parts of a manual, dissertations, thesis, tutorials. But then you should only use it when e.g. writing a step by step guide for setting up a video recorder, a lab experiment, derivation of formula, installation of firmware/software, where no options arise. Wir können A oder B ...
IMO, the problem mainly arises in a professional environment when you work with somebody for several days, weeks, or ... In the Apple store it's a bit pointless, as it is a singular event and there is not really a hierachic relation. I would say something like Ich präferiere im Beruf das Siezen...Im Beruf bin ich generell mit niemanden per Du... ...
My father was replying to someone who was saying "du" to him: "Have we been in the same grade?" with his Berlin-accent. It worked and was polite, because of the context. In other words, I think it depends on the context and there might be situations where there is no polite solution.
I understand that politeness is required, nevertheless, the appropriate politeness in this case may be: "Ham wir schon Schweine zusamm' gehütet, oder was?" especially if the Duzer is very penetrant / follows a company policy / is from Berlin, etc.
I prefer "Sie" and find it easier to understand. The many comments and suggestions were interesting, however when the objective is to clearly understand what needs to be done, using "Sie" seems to me to be the best choice.
In the last ten years there is a strong shift from "Lieber Thomas!" to "Hallo Thomas,", but I would like to point out that "Lieber Thomas!" is not more informal than "Hallo Thomas", the opposite is true because "Liebe(r)" can absolutely be used with last names, too while this would sound strange to me with "Hallo".
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