Are you learning German? Have you wondered what its capitalization rules are?
In German, all nouns and all substantives are capitalized. All other parts of speech are written with a lowercase letter. If the spelling of individual words or word combinations raises doubts, you should refer to a spelling dictionary.
There are two forms of address in German:
1) Addressing formally: Sie, Ihre, Ihnen;
2) "You" informally; in the singular: du, dein, dir, dich and in the plural: ihr, euer, euch.
All forms of polite address are capitalized as shown above. All other forms of "you" are always written with a lower case letter. This rule also applies to forms of address in letters and telegrams. For example:
Lieber Freund, ich habe deinen Brief vor einer Woche bekommen, konnte leider dir nicht gleich dieAntwort schreiben.
All forms of address, except the polite form, are written with a lowercase letter. The polite form of address is written with a capital letter.
As mentioned above, nouns in German are written with a capital letter and have either an article or another accompanying word. Adjectives can also be used with an article or other accompanying word and act as a noun. Here are a couple of examples:
Regardless of what part of speech a word is most often (what part of speech it is designated in the dictionary), it should be capitalized if it has been substantiated (that is if it has or could have been accompanied by an accompanying word in the situation and is used as a noun).
Compare the following:
Look here: im Deutschen, das Englisch, das Du, kein Aber.
If a word can be preceded (in this or a similar situation) by either an accompanying word or an article, it should also be capitalized (even if there is no accompanying word in the above example). For example:
Words belonging to any parts of speech are capitalized if they are used as a noun.
The spelling of the following words and phrases are also changed according to this rule:
Proper nouns in German are written with a capital letter. If a proper name is preceded by some other part of speech that is also part of the full name or title, the word(s) should also be capitalized. For example:
Sometimes proper names themselves have an attributive meaning. Depending on which suffix the adjective was formed from, the word can be written with either a capital or a small letter.
Adjectives formed from place-names with the suffix -er are capitalized.
Adjectives formed from proper names with the apostrophe and the suffix -sch. are capitalized.
Attention should also be paid to the fact that adjectives formed from place-names with the suffix -er are not declined; while other adjectives formed from proper names change in gender, number and case.
Adjectives formed from proper names without the apostrophe with suffixes -sch, -isch, -haft, -esk, are written with a lowercase letter.
Note: Adjectives with -esk, -aft suffixes are very rare.
Adjectives are also written with a lowercase letter in collocations that have become a stable expression (unless they are part of a proper name, job title, street name, party name, star, landmark, etc.).
If a noun in a sentence or in a word combination serves the function of another part of speech, it should be written with a lowercase letter.
In this connection, we need to name six nouns, which in combination with the verbs sein, bleiben, and werden should be written with a lowercase letter:
Words formed from nouns with -s or -ens are also written with lower case letters. They may act as a circumstance, a conjunction or a preposition in a sentence. For example:
Words denoting any part of a whole, fractions, are written with a lowercase letter if they:
a) are used to denote time:
viertel vor acht; gegen halb neun;
b) used before a measure:
zwei hundertstel Sekunden; nach drei viertel Stunden; ein viertel Meter.
If a word that resembles a noun, in a phrase or sentence, answers the question "how? in what way? (wie?), it should be written with a lowercase letter.
Nouns and numerals viel, wenig, eine, andere are written with a lowercase letter, even if they are used instead of nouns.
In some stable expressions that have the form "preposition + adjective name without an article", the adjectives are written with a lowercase letter.
About the author: Diane H. Wong used to be a business coach. Besides, she is a writer at DoMyWriting so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.
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