Sie vs. sieThe Different Meanings of 'sie', 'Sie' & 'sie' in German

Sie is an important German pronoun used in many different contexts. It can have different meanings depending on the context.

Formal Address

The most common use of Sie is for formal address. It is used when addressing someone you do not know well or someone you would like to show respect to. This is similar to English phrases like “Sir” or “Ma’am”.

Plural Form

Sie can also be used as the plural form of du, which is used to address someone in an informal way. This is similar to using “you” in English.

In conclusion, Sie is an important German pronoun with many different meanings. It can be used to show respect, as a formal address, or as a plural form of du. It is important to use the correct form of Sie depending on the context.

Basically it's easy.

What are the different meanings of Sie in German?

Using the tiny word "sie" in German can be pretty confusing in the very beginning.

It has different meanings, but will be used in very similar contexts.

We can distinguish between the capitalized "Sie" and the small "sie". Let's look at both in turn.


When "sie" is not capitalized, it can only be the 3rd person singular feminine (she or her) or 3rd person plural (they or them).

Or alternatively, it might be she or they, but in their accusative forms, which would be "her" or "them".

So the possible translations here are:

  1. “she” (nominative singular)
  2. “they” (nominative plural)
  3. “her” (accusative singular)
  4. “them” (accusative plural)


When you encounter a capitalized "Sie", things are a little bit easier.

The question here is why the "Sie" is capitalized:

If it's capitalized, but appears in the middle of a sentence where a different pronoun wouldn't be capitalized, then it's translated as the formal you.

If it's capitalized, because it appears at the beginning of a sentence, for example, then you're in the very unfortunate situation where it could mean any of the meanings discussed above, but it could also be the formal version of "you".


Explore Our Podcast

Explore our intermediate podcast about contemporary German culture, history, philosophy & more. Each episode is spoken at a slow pace, and includes a transcript.


Sloeful German is a language learning platform focused on immersive learning. We assist you in achieving fluency, through engaging content tailored to your level.


Join Us