Lesson 3 - Subject Pronouns

Before discussing verb forms in the German language, you'll have to know a bit about 'subjects'.

This lesson only discusses subject pronouns; pronouns as a whole will be discussed in detail in later lessons. The subject of a sentence is usually a noun that names a person or thing that performs the action. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of that noun.

First-person & Second-person Pronouns

In German, there are two ways of addressing people, either formal or informal.
The informal is usually used when addressing friends & children, while the formal method is used with people whom you may not know well or who are older than you.

Pronoun Definition Pronoun Definition
Singular Plural
ich I wir we
du you - informal ihr you - informal
Sie you - formal Sie you - formal

Third-person Pronouns

In German, the subject pronoun must follow the gender of the noun it replaces. Since some German masculine nouns are inanimate objects, the German masculine pronoun can mean 'it' when referring to something inanimate, or it can mean 'he' when referring to something male. The same thing occurs with female and neuter pronouns.

Noun Defintion Pronoun Defintion
der Arzt doctor er he
der Tisch table er it
die Mutter mother sie she
die Wand wall sie it
das Kind child es he/she
das Mädchen girl es she
das Papier paper es it
die Kinder children sie they
die Blumen flowers sie they
die Stühle chairs sie they

The German 'sie/Sie' might be very confusing for the beginner German learners. Don't worry though, you should be able to easily differentiate between their intended meanings in a sentence when you learn verb conjugation.

Now that you know the German subject pronouns, you're ready to learn about verbs.