Why am I capitalized, but never me

Upper and lower case: the 3 biggest pitfalls

Are you sometimes unsure about correct spelling and punctuation? Especially as a secretary, however, you should not make any mistakes in written correspondence with your business partners - because that quickly looks unprofessional and puts you and your company in a bad light.

Save yourself time and annoying looking up now! Get our practical guide: "Spelling: experience - understand - apply"! In this way you not only secure valuable tips, practical examples and the most important spelling rules at a glance, but also always make a professional impression with perfect correspondence.

Case Sensitive: Avoid These 3 Biggest Pitfalls

The English have it easy. (Almost) everything is written in lower case. We can get a little jealous. There are so many pitfalls lurking in German that even experienced "writers" like you sometimes overlook. Find out here when to capitalize or lowercase a word!

It's actually pretty easy with capitalization. In German you write

  • Headlines,
  • Beginnings of sentences,
  • Nouns and nouns,
  • Proper names and
  • Salutation (you)

large. But there are pitfalls, because other parts of speech such as verbs, adjectives, pronouns and prepositions can also become nouns. So you have to know from case to case or decide for yourself whether a word is still an adjective or verb in the respective context or has already become a noun ("substantivated"). The following overview will help you.

1. Adjective → noun

Adjectives like dry, dark, clear and new can quickly become nouns. Examples:

  • in the dry
  • in the dark
  • in the clear
  • anew

Nouns adjectives are capitalized.

Exceptions: Superlatives that are formed with "on / on the" can optionally be capitalized or lower-case if you follow them with "How?" can ask.


  • heartily / heartily (how?)
  • for the best (how?)

They have to be written if you then start with "What?" ask.


  • be prepared for the extreme (what?)
  • be prepared for the worst (what?)

Tip: Use capitalization as consistently as possible where you can choose (most warmly / warmly). You are definitely right. The spelling reform has clearly strengthened capitalization.

2. Verb → noun

Nouns verbs are capitalized. You can tell from the article (der, die, das, ein, eine) or the possessive pronoun (mine, your, our etc.) that the verb has become a noun.


  • Who is responsible for organizing the conference?
  • It was difficult for him to speak.
  • Who will write the minutes?
  • I find it difficult to read tables on the screen.
  • The absence of the head of department was objected to.
  • Who does the repair of the machines?
  • We cannot allow ourselves to look the other way and remain silent.
  • This addition is an absolute must.
  • We recommend installing new valves on the advice of our technicians.
  • I can't stop being amazed.
  • He hadn't been careful while cooking.

3. Adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections → noun

Nouns adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections (exclamations) are capitalized.


  • We have to end this mess.
  • The constant back and forth bothers us all.
  • It's all about the here and now.
  • I thank you in advance.
  • In hindsight, we're all smarter now.
  • This means the end for this company.
  • We have carefully considered the pros and cons.
  • We say yes to you without any ifs or buts.

Recommendation: And if you are still unsure what is written and how, there is always the spell check and the good old Duden. It is better to look up too much than too little if you want to send impeccable texts.

Claudia Marbach