I was going through a lesson on lingq about a girl named Elli. There's a sentence in it

Ihr Vater heißt Thomas.

I looked up the meaning of Ihr and it is said to be the plural of du which is informal you. I don't know how this fits here as it is about a girl and they are talking in 3rd person so the word should be something equivalent of she.

Am I missing something?

2 Answers 2


Ihr can be three things.

1.) second person plural, nominative case (you all)

Ihr seid meine besten Studenten.

You are my best students.

2.) third person singular female, dative case (to her)

Ich gebe ihr mein Buch.

I give her my book / I give my book to her.

3.) possessive article for masculine and neuter things, third person singular female owner, nominative case (her something) + accusative case (only for neuter things)

Ihr Vater heißt eigentlich Frank.

Her dad is actually called Frank.


Chirlu pointed out in the comment that there are more meanings... so on we go:

4.) possessive article for masculine and neuter things, third person plural onwer, namonative case + accusative case (only for neuter things)

Ihr Professor heißt auch Frank.

Their professor is also called Frank.

4 a.) As with the third person plural in general, this can also be used as a polite "you". It is then written with a capital I.

  • Would you mind giving English translation of the sentences also? I am a beginner. I can make guess about the meaning but it would be better to know actual translations also. Also would the meaning depend on the context as in case of "Sie" and "sie"? Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 14:17
  • There are many more interpretations as a possessive pronoun (case 3): ihr Buch (nom./acc.), and it can refer to a group of people too (As und Bs Buch), and finally there is capitalized Ihr as well (Das ist wohl Ihr Buch, Herr Müller).
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 14:20
  • Done...as for the context... it is the grammar that will tell the reader which of the 3 we are dealing with.... mainly the words that precede and follow. But I wouldn't be too worried. I am pretty sure that there won't be cases where you actually can't tell which one it is :)
    – Emanuel
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 14:22
  • @Chirlu:... and once again you're right... I'll edit it
    – Emanuel
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 14:23
  • 4a is no longer the case if I'm correctly informed. In letters, "Du" or "Ihr" is no longer spelled with a capital letter. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 14:41

Here are a few examples:

Wo seid ihr? // Where are you

For female:

Sie liebt ihren Vater. // She loves her father.

For male:

Er liebt seinen Vater. // He loves his father.

And your example Ihr Vater heißt Thomas // Her father's name is Thomas for male:

Sein Vater heißt Thomas. // His father's name is Thomas.

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