41 votes
Accepted

Why the switch from “ihr” to “Sie” in the following speech from Band of Brothers?

This might not be a mistake, but very deliberately done. As comrades of war the general says du and ihr to his fellows. But at the very end of his speech, he wants to make clear that this is over and ...
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  • 4,727
36 votes
Accepted

Can "sie" be used as "it/this" in some cases?

Whether the sentence is correctly translated or not depends a bit on the context. Please compare the following: Die Maschine wurde repariert. Ja, sie funktioniert jetzt gut. Der Motor wurde ...
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31 votes
Accepted

Why do Netflix German subtitles always make use of formal pronouns?

The answer is probably that the choice between du and Sie in productions translated from English is not always necessarily natural. Primarily, this is due to the fact that English does not make the ...
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  • 8,058
30 votes
Accepted

Is "Schmeckt es Sie?" correct?

The only correct form is Schmeckt es Ihnen? Another example: Das Brötchen (Subj.) schmeckt dem Kind (Dat. Obj) Schmeckt das Brötchen dem Kind (not das Kind)? “Schmeckt es Sie” is ...
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23 votes

Would a computer use ‘du’ or ‘Sie’ for the user?

Du hast ungespeicherte Nachrichten. — You have unsaved messages. Sie haben ungespeicherte Nachrichten. — You have unsaved messages. Both occur, but often neither is used, because it’s usually ...
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  • 9,013
21 votes
Accepted

Why the dative pronoun in "Ich wasche mir die Hände"?

The dative pronoun here means something like "for me". Many German verbs have this sort of construction, more than in English. But English has it too: He made me some soup She bought me a loaf of ...
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  • 1,107
19 votes

keiner/jeder vs niemand/alle

There are two subtle differences: alle vs. jeder: alle is referring to the set as a whole. jeder is referring to every member of the set. In most cases, this is equivalent, but not always: Jeder ...
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  • 13.6k
18 votes

Why the dative pronoun in "Ich wasche mir die Hände"?

Ich wasche meine Hände would be correct, but slightly unusual as long as nothing follows. Ich wasche meine Hände in Unschuld/mit warmem Wasser/mit Seife. is perfect. Ich wasche Hände is ...
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  • 24.5k
17 votes
Accepted

When can ‘dus’ be used in place of ‘du’?

"Dus" in fact isn't a word on its own, it's simply the result of colloquially merging the two pronouns "du" and "es" into one. IMHO, you should refrain from using "dus" in written language. ...
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  • 13.1k
17 votes

Appropriate pronoun for “you” and “someone else who’s not here right now.”

Gehen du und Bob zur Party? Is the right answer here. If they were both standing right in front of you you say Geht ihr zur Party? But one of the people is not there, so you are talking about a ...
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  • 1,180
17 votes
Accepted

When are parts of the body personal, and when not?

This is just a variation to reduce repeating words. This also would be correct, but contains 3 times "ihre": Der Arzt schaut in ihre Augen, ihren Mund und in ihre Ohren. Another ...
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16 votes

»Lass mal McDonald's gehen.«

Der Satz ist durchaus korrektes Deutsch, bedeutet aber etwas anderes als das, was der Sprecher wahrscheinlich sagen wollte. Lass mal McDonalds gehen Könnte bedeuten, dass die Schüler ihren ...
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  • 57.2k
14 votes
Accepted

"sie" or "die" when referring to "they"

1) There should be a comma between "gesagt" and "dass" because you start a subordinate clause with the word "dass". 2) The correct word here is "sie". "Die" is sometimes used by people in the street ...
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13 votes

How to recognise whether it's "haben Sie" ("you") or "haben sie" ("they")?

In the written language, you can check if it is Sie (formal you) with a capitalized S at the beginning or sie (they), whose initial letter is lower case. But I am sure that you did not mean the ...
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  • 3,597
12 votes
Accepted

Relative pronouns replace “ich” or “du”

There are two ways: Use the same pronouns as for the third person and also use the third person for the relative clause’s verb: Ich, der/die rote Haare hat, bin 25 Jahre alt. Du, der/die rote ...
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  • 21.5k
12 votes

Is "Schmeckt es Sie?" correct?

According to the rules for German grammar "Schmeckt es Sie?" ist not grammatically correct. The grammatical structure is always "noun" + schmeckt + Dative (typically referring to the person or ...
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  • 741
12 votes
Accepted

Hat dir der Film gefallen? oder Hat du der Film gefallen?

The verb "gefallen" is used with dative. You can roughly think of it as "to be pleasant to somebody": Dieses Buch gefällt mir - this book is pleasant to me Der Schauspieler hat ...
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  • 4,598
12 votes

Difference: Ihr vs sie

It is as follows: du → you (singular) Hast du das getan? → Did you do that? ihr → you (plural) Habt ihr das getan? → Did you do that? Ihr → you (singular, Pluralis Majestatis, not to be confused ...
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11 votes

Would a computer use ‘du’ or ‘Sie’ for the user?

It depends on the company making the software in question. For example, Facebook always uses "du", Microsoft always uses "Sie", Apple and Google use a mixture, depending on product and context. ...
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  • 1,469
11 votes
Accepted

"Ihr" as second person singular

It's called Höflichkeitsform, Honorificum or Honorativ(um). "Ihr" was replaced by "Sie" in the 19th and 20th century. It sounds more formal and historically authentic so it is often used in medieval ...
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  • 126
11 votes

Appropriate pronoun for “you” and “someone else who’s not here right now.”

I don't really think this works in German as planned. Workarounds would be to mentioned Bob beforehand (A), clarify along the way (B) or rephrase it entirely (C). (A) Was ist mit Bob? Geht ihr ...
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  • 16.1k
10 votes

»Lass mal McDonald's gehen.«

In einer deskriptiven Betrachtung der Sprache (die sich anschaut, welche Ausdrücke tatsächlich verwendet werden, und ob die jeweiligen Empfänger daran etwas auszusetzen haben) ist der Satz »Lass mal ...
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  • 38k
10 votes

The correct ways to use Sie in nominative?

The "Sie" with a capital "s" is used to formally address someone directly. That means that it has the same function as the informal "du". However, grammaticaly "Sie" is used differently than the "du",...
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  • 432
10 votes

Why not ihm in "Kannst du ihn den neuen Kollegen zeigen?"

"Zeigen" in your example has two objects: "den Besprechungsraum" singular, accusative: what to show "den neuen Kollegen" plural, dative: whom to show it so "ihn" again is accusative singular, standing ...
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  • 600
10 votes
Accepted

Kann im 2. Teil eines zusammengesetzten Satzes das Personalpronomen weggelassen werden?

Nein Richtig sind diese Sätze: Wenn du so viele Jahre in einem Beruf gearbeitet hast, wirst du auch länger aushalten. Lassen Sie Putzlappen gut trocknen und wechseln Sie sie häufig.
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10 votes

Personal Pronouns: Nominative case

For tables, I like Wiktionary. Have a look at the tables for mein. You will notice that your second table is for attributive use, which is what you will need most frequently: Das ist mein Wagen. The ...
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  • 19k
9 votes
Accepted

I thought “sie ist” always meant “she is” but here it means “they?”

Because it must be feminine singular. Check the first sentence: Die Generalität ist ein Geschmeiß des deutschen Volkes! Subject here is “die Generalität”, it’s feminine singular. Now on to ...
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  • 23.7k
9 votes

»Lass mal McDonald's gehen.«

Der Satz ist nicht korrekt oder zumindest kein gutes Deutsch. Richtig oder jedenfalls besser wäre Lass(t) uns mal in den McDonald's gehen. oder Lass(t) uns mal in das / ins McDonald's gehen. ...
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9 votes

Why do Netflix German subtitles always make use of formal pronouns?

Your assumption that it is not a slip-up because it is Netflix may be wrong. If it was too expensive to put effort in proper dubs or subtitle, or if it does not pay off otherwise they simply will not ...
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  • 69.8k

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