Wie geht es Ihnen / Wie geht es dir?

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by ccwl22, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. ccwl22 Member

    U.S. english
    My friend's parents are coming to America (from Germany) soon and I want to tell them "welcome to America,"
    when I speak to them I will just be meeting them or just met them so when I ask how they are would I say Wie geht es Ihnen, Wie geht es dir, or just Wie gehts?

  2. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Definitely "Wie geht es Ihnen?" if you are meeting them the first time. It is the same sentence both in the singular and in the plural.

    Wie geht es dir? - Gramatically correct only if you talk to one person. A plural of this is "Wie geht es euch?"

    Wie geht's? - Shouldn't be a problem if they are laid-back folks. But I'd go for the first variant to be on the safe side. Maybe you could ask your friend what she thinks is appropriate.
  3. Quelle

    Quelle Senior Member

    Deutschland Deutsch
    Then you can also say: Herzlich willkommen in Amerika!
  4. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Yes, Quelle is right.

    I think, you want to say something like "How do you do?" but the literal translation "Wie geht es Ihnen?" is usually not used in the German ceremony to say "Welcome" for the first time. "Herzlich willkommen in Amerika" is much better.

    "Wie geht es Ihnen?" can be used in different situations. The most common for me is if the other looks ill.

    "Wie geht's" - the short form, I can use when I meet a friend. But it has another meening in cultural sense. Usually, the answer is "gut". It means something like "How are you?".

    You can add "Guten Tag".

    "Guten Tag. Herzlich willkommen in Amerika." This sounds a little bit enthusiastic ("pathetisch, überschwenglich" in German) but I think, it is appropriate.
  5. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

  6. Guille Spain Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Is "Wie geht es Ihnen" more formal than "Wie geht es dir" then?

    Should I say the first sentence to ONE person I meet for the first time?

    And what that person would answer? "Danke. Und Ihr?"

    Thanks in advance
  7. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Hi, it is not more formal in a certain sense, but more polite.

    When you meet a person the first time it depends on age.

    If the person is apparently older than 14 you should say "Wie geht es Ihnen?"

    This is the polite form to address one or more persons.

    There is an exception: If the person is either your brother, sister or another (near) relative, it is "Wie geht es dir?".

    The answer is "Danke, gut. Und Ihnen?"

    Note: You cannot simply switch between the forms, that is why I said it is not just a question of formality.

    If you speak to a child, even if it is formal, you use "Wie geht es dir?"

    The answer would be "Wie geht es Ihnen?" if you are an adult person.
    If you are a relative (Verwandter) or a child, the answer would be "(Danke,) gut! ... und dir?"

    There are other formulas, too.

    In case of the original question, you should use "Ihnen", because they are the parents of a friend - definitely no children and also no relatives of you.
    It might be that you will switch to "du" and "ihr" in a special ceremony "Du anbieten".
    The older person and the woman can usually propose to use "du".
    Usually you can accept this. I suppose they are older than you, so you have to stay with "Sie" and "Ihnen".
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010

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