When you recount how you and somebody else did something, it is culturally favored to put the other person first. For example:

Franz und ich sind einkaufen gegangen

is preferable over

Ich und Franz sind einkaufen gegangen

But does this rule also apply when talking about 2 people other than yourself, one of which you are adressing directly?

Franz und du seid einkaufen gegangen

compared to

Du und Franz seid einkaufen gegangen

or does it not make a difference in this case and nobody would care how you phrase it?


Perhaps this (slightly) longer example sounds better than the constructed ones above:

Du und Franz habt euch über die deutsche Sprache unterhalten, richtig?

Is the order of "Du" and "Franz" arbitrary in the above text or is there an inofficial rule how to order these two?

  • Welcome to German.SE. Interesting question. Yet I have no answer, I assume it is more to take 2nd person and then 3rd person as order. Of cource, I can consider situations, where I would put "Franz und Du" - like in "Franz und Du gehen einkaufen, dann ging der Alarm los/ dann fällt einem von Euch ein, dass..." Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 8:08
  • 1
    The convention is not to put yourself (ich) first. If there is no ich, that convention does not apply.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 9:33

3 Answers 3


I would use neither, as they both (at least in such a short example) sound weird. My preferred way of phrasing this would be Du bist mit Franz einkaufen gegangen, or (if you want to emphasise what Franz did) Franz ist mit dir einkaufen gegangen.

Otherwise I'd put the 'more relevant' person first: that would be the focus of the previous sentence. If you're talking about Franz, he comes first. If you're talking about the other person, they come first. Compare:

  1. Ich hasse dich! Du und Franz seid einkaufen gegangen.

  2. Ich hasse dich! Franz und du seid einkaufen gegangen.

The second sentence doesn't work, unless Franz was mentioned before in the conversation.

  • 1
    Franz und Du, Ihr seid einkaufen gegangen - nicht sind. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 15:42
  • Danke fuer die Korrektur; aendert allerdings nichts an der Antwort. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 16:38
  • I added a better example to my question. Does this change anything?
    – Nic.Star
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 7:30
  • @Nic.Star No. Though I would still prefer "Du hast dich mit Franz unterhalten" :) Like in user unknown's comment, you would probably not have that coordination as the subject, but use a construction where you replace it with a pronoun. It just sounds not very elegant. The point about topic/comment I link to in my answer still applies. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 9:25

It is neither "Du und er" nor "er und Du". The German expression for that would be "ihr beide". Comparing "Franz und Du" and "Du und Franz", it depends what do you want to emphasize. If you say "Du und Franz, Ihr habt euch doch früher immer so gut verstanden", the question behind is: "what kind of problem do you have with him?", Franz not being present. According to my feeling, the one who comes first is being emphasized.

  • 5
    But "ihr beide" only makes sense if the other person already knows you are talking about Franz. If I wanted to ask a co-worker: "Du und Franz habt euch über <something> unterhalten, richtig?" Would the order of Du and Franz matter or can I choose it arbitrarily?
    – Nic.Star
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 8:55
  • @Nic.Star No, in this case order would not matter at all (although I personally would use "du" first, without anything to back it up)
    – guntbert
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 10:35

As to my perception, the addressee (du) normally enjoys more reverence than other enumerated people i.e. 'Du und Franz'.

But in case 'Franz' is an honorable/honored or even an adorable/adored person (the speaker's idol, the addressee's sweetheart, a coach, to whom the two look up, ...) so that it's obvious or at least understandable both to the speaker and to the addressee why Franz should be mentioned first, 'Franz und du' should or might be used.

The bounaries for the decision in favor of the one or the other option are unfortunately fluent.

Intentional emphasis can, of course, override all these considerations.

  • Downvoted? Well, I'd be glad to read examples for situations, which clearly disprove my subjective (as to my perception) observations.
    – Ben A.
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 8:39
  • I admit that I circulate in groups which still keep up or at least know conventions like writing of capitalized 'du', 'dich' etc. in letters. So, I don't mind if you call my observations sociolectical. But even then they would have a certain value as you never know, into which sociolect you'll be expected to blend in.
    – Ben A.
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 8:53

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