Du vs. DichWhat's the Difference?

Confused about when to use 'du' or 'dich' in German? This article clears the confusion and explains the essential difference between the two words in a simple way.

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01.12.2023

If you're learning German, you may have come across the words du and dich and wondered what the difference between them might be!

And while German grammar isn't always easy to understand, the difference between those two words should not be too difficult to grasp.

Du vs. Dich: What's the difference?

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The difference between du and dich in German is this: Du is used as the subject of a sentence, whereas dich is used as the object of a sentence. Du is a nominative pronoun, whereas dich is an accusative pronoun.

The words du and dich are both German pronouns, but they play different roles in a sentence.

Du is used as the subject of a sentence, like "you" in English. It is used when we are talking directly to someone. And since it's always the subject of a sentence, Du is a pronoun in the nominative case.

Du bist mein Freund.

You are my friend.

Dich functions the other way around: Dich is used as the object of a sentence, like "you" in English when someone is receiving the action. It is used after certain verbs like "to see s.b.", "to help s.b." or "to love s.b." etc. that receive a direct object. It is in the accusative case.

Ich liebe dich.

I love you.

If you are unsure what it means for a noun to be in the nominative or accusative case, you might want to check out our posts on German declension and the German cases.

Du vs. Dich: Examples

Here are some more examples using du & dich. Click on the gray bars to reveal the translations of the German phrases.

Examples with du

Bist du da?

Are you there_
Du bist sehr nett!

You are very nice!
Kannst du mir helfen?

Can you help me?

Examples with dich

Ich sehe dich!

I see you!
Ich liebe dich.

I love you.
Hast du dich vertan?

Have you made a mistake?

Summary

Learning when to use du and dich may take some practice, but don't worry! Keep using these pronouns in conversations and writing, and you'll get the hang of it.

Remember to use du as the subject when talking to someone informally, and dich as the object when someone is receiving the action.

Keep exploring the German language, and soon you'll be a pro at using these pronouns correctly.

When do I use 'du' in German?
Use 'du' when you want to address someone informally, like a friend or a family member. In contrast to 'dich', 'du' is always in the nominative case, so it always needs to be the subject of a sentence.
What does 'dich' mean in German? How do I use it?
'Dich' is the object form of 'du' and is used when someone is receiving the action in a sentence. This is also known as the accusative case.
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