What does du mean in:

Du, das ist aber ein super Auto.

Another example would be:

Du, ich kenne jetzt schon 3 Leute hier.

I have transcribed these sentences myself, so take them with a pinch of salt.


In Latin this would be vocative. It is used to address the receiver of the message and to get his/her attention. In German it is syntactically not a part of the following sentence. Its more like a one-word-sentence (an exclamation) before the rest of the message.

You can think of it as a shortened form of:

Hey you, (please) listen!

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The German term for this form of address is »Anredenominativ«.

Other sample:

Mama, ich hab Hunger!

Also a leading »o« can be added:

O Kind, du hast wieder alles verstellt!

O Tannenbaum ...

where »O Tannenbaum« is the beginning of a Christmas carol.

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  • Or simply like "Joseph, kannst du mir mal den Wein rüberreichen?" However, starting with "Du" adds intimacy. – Christian Geiselmann Jul 30 '17 at 17:55

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