German Subject Pronouns with Video

Subject-Pronouns

Subject Pronouns

What is a subject pronoun?

A subject pronoun is a word such as I, you, he etc. It refers to a person or a thing that performs an action. A subject pronoun is linked to a verb, and in most cases the verb will follow it directly.

For example:
ich bin ⇨ I am
du bist ⇨ you are
er ist ⇨ he is

You can now learn even more on this topic with the help of a fun animation and a grammar quiz. Simply check out our Meet and Greet Module in level A1.



Table: German Subject Pronouns

German English
Singular
1st person ich I
2nd person du / Sie you (informal) / you (formal)
3rd person er / sie / es he / she / it
Plural
1st person wir we
2nd person ihr / Sie you (informal) / you (formal)
3rd person sie they


You – du, ihr and Sie

In German, there are three ways of saying you. The informal word is du in the singular and ihr in the plural. In the formal form both, singular and plural, are Sie. If you want to find out more about this read our blog When to use Sie, du and ihr.


He, she and it – er, sie and es

In English we mainly refer to things as it.

For example:
I love this book. It is very good.

However, in German, er (he, it), sie (she, it) and es (it) are mainly used to refer to things, animals and people. Er is used for masculine nouns, sie is used for feminine nouns and es is used for neuter nouns.

For example:
Der Film ist gut. ⇨ Er ist gut. – The movie is good. ⇨ It‘s good.
Die Musik ist gut. ⇨ Sie ist gut. – The music is good. ⇨ It‘s good.
Das Buch ist gut. ⇨ Es ist gut. – The book is good. ⇨ It‘s good.


You – man

The subject pronoun man is used in the same way as we use you to mean people in general.

For example:
Man kann das Auto kaufen. ⇨ You can buy that car.

Note: German subject pronouns only have a capital letter when they begin the sentence. The only exception to this is the polite pronoun Sie which always begins with a capital S.

For example:
Wie heißt du? ⇨ What’s your name? (informal)
Wie heißen Sie? ⇨ What’s your name? (formal)



Let’s have a look at the subject pronouns in connection with the German verb seinto be. Below you can see how this important verb is formed according to its subject pronouns. Note that “Sie” (the formal you) and “sie” (meaning they) are formed in the same way. That’s why we have placed them on the same row.

Table: sein – to be

Pronoun sein (to be) Completed Form Meaning
ich bin ich bin I am
du bist du bist you are
er / sie / es ist er / sie / es ist he / she / it is
wir sind wir sind we are
ihr seid ihr seid you are
sie / Sie sind sie / Sie sind they / you are


Example sentences:
Ich bin aus München. ⇨ I’m from Munich.
Wie alt bist du? ⇨ How old are you?
Er ist 9 Jahre alt. ⇨ He is 9 years old.
Wir sind beide 21. ⇨ We are both 21.
Seid ihr aus Lübeck? ⇨ Are you from Lübeck?
Sie sind aus Berlin. ⇨ They are from Berlin.
Wie alt sind Sie? ⇨ How old are you?


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