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When do I capitalise the first letter of a word?

Generally, all nouns are capitalised. When I was in school our teacher told us that “anything you can touch” is capitalised. However, this is somewhat simplified as abstract nouns such as Zeit, Liebe, und Angst are also capitalised. It is safest to ask if the word your looking at is a noun and if it is, capitalise it.

Notably, in German many nominalisations are also capitalised. Nominalisations are verbs (e.g. lachen) or adjectives (e.g. böse) which are the subject in a sentence. In the sentence Sein Lachen ist ansteckend, Lachen is the subject. Similarly, in the phrase das Böse, böse acts like a noun rather than an adjective. Most nominalisations are preceded by an article (der, die, das, ein, eine), pronoun (sein, ihr, etc), quantifiers (wenig, viel etc) or adjectives.

Just like in English the first word in a sentence and names are also capitalised. The polite address terms Sie/Ihnen/Ihr are also capitalised.

Nina M. GCSE German tutor, A Level English Language tutor, GCSE Engli...

9 months ago

Answered by Nina, a GCSE German tutor with MyTutor


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