Nominative case: Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are words like ‘it’, ‘he’ or ‘they’. They replace nouns and change according to the case they are in.

Singular Plural Formal
Nominative ich du er sie es wir ihr sie Sie

In German there are three words for ‘you‘: the familiar forms du and ihr, and the polite form Sie.

When talking to family, friends and small children, we use du to address one person and ihr to address more than one person.

When talking to people we do not know or don’t know well, we usually use the formal pronoun Sie to address one or more people. However, conventions are changing. When in doubt, it is always safer to use the formal Sie.

Please note that formal Sie is always written with a capital letter.

The personal pronouns er, sie, es refer to people or things. Which of these is used depends on the grammatical gender of the word we are referring to. 

This means that, in contrast to English, er or sie can refer to a thing. We use er when we talk about a masculine noun and sie when we talk about a feminine noun. Es is used to refer to a neutral noun.

masculine:   der Computer  –>  er

feminine:   die Bank  –>  sie

neutral:   das Haus  –>  es

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

External Link: Personalpronomen er und sie.