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Grammatik auf Englisch - Groß- und Kleinschreibung von A bis Z

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Groß- und Kleinschreibung Englisch, Englische Groß- und Kleinschreibung

In German, capitalisation rules are clear: every noun must be capitalised. In English, where capitalisation rules are complex - and often a matter of style - it's easy to make mistakes, even when using a word processor with a built-in spelling and grammar checker! For non-native speakers, it's best to stick to the rules.

Word processors are fantastic for helping you get things right. Type the word internet into Microsoft Word and see what happens. Word will instantly inform you that a big I is correct. In this case, most style guides would agree. Wired Magazine, however, would not.

Before you rely on your word processor to get it right for you, consider that what it tells you is based on what the software is capable of telling you is correct. Software can't know what your sentences mean. Because of this, correction software built into word processors is usually of no help when what you've written could be correct in one context and not in another. For example, both of the following are correct according to Microsoft Word 2003:

  1. Many Governments have policies that are unfair to the poor.

  2. He's a lower-level clerk in her majesty's government.

Surprisingly, both of these are incorrect! In English, all specific references to people, places or things must be capitalised. General references should not be. In A, the word governments is used generically (correct: Many governments...). Capitalisation here is clearly wrong. In B, it is part of a specific reference (correct: Her Majesty's Government). Her Majesty must also be capitalised because it is an official title. So why does Word think both are correct? Because it's sometimes correct to capitalise government and sometimes not, so it allows both. The moral is that you need to know the rules and carefully check what you have written to be sure that they have been correctly applied for the message you are trying to communicate. The quick reference below will help you resolve the most common capitalisation questions with a simple glance. If you're still in doubt, a style guide such as The Oxford Style Manual, which provides an exhaustive rundown of English capitalisation rules along with examples of common problems, can be of immense help.

Quick guide to English capitalisation rules

As a very reliable general rule, specific references to people, places and things should be capitalised. Generic references should not. Thus you should capitalise the names of:

Specific people, places or things: Mr Jones, Carolyn J. Banning, Saturn, China, London

Names of laws, regulations and legal instruments: Directive 90/270/EEC, Regulation 92

Official titles, professional titles and academic degrees: the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of England, Professor Maynard, Chief Executive Officer, PhD, Bachelor of Arts

Political or legal entities including nations, countries, governments, organisations and associations: the Republic of China, Greenland, the Japanese Imperial Government, the Democrats, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Lung Association

International agreements: the Treaty of Versailles

Weekdays, months and holidays: Wednesday, January, Christmas

Events: the Seventh International Congress of Medical Practitioners

Corporate and trade names, unless they have become generic terms: Microsoft Corporation, Ibuprofen, aspirin

Compass points when used as part of the name of a place: Southern California, North-eastern Sahara (Note: Hyphenated compass points are not hyphenated in AE)

Eras and historical periods: the Ice Age, Gothic architecture

The names of geographical formations used as part of the name of a place: Charles River Valley, Mainland China, Mount Jenkins, Caspian Sea, Cape of Good Hope

Additional rules
  • Capitalise the first word of every sentence, even if it is incomplete. All other words should be lowercase except when the above capitalisation rules apply.

  • Capitalise the first word of the first sentence in letters and in e-mails.

  • If a word would be capitalised when it is used as a noun, it should be capitalised when used as an adjective.

  • If a quotation is a complete sentence, its first word should be capitalised - even if it's in the middle of another sentence.

Capitalisation in titles
There are numerous acceptable styles for capitalising the names of titles, chapters, sections, articles and appendices. The traditional approach, known as Book Style, is to capitalise the first letter and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs in a title. Another style gaining widespread popularity in Europe and in the business world has become the use of "sentence case" for titles which are not book titles. When using this style, titles should be capitalised as if they were sentences. OBET uses this style.

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Groß- und Kleinschreibung Englisch, Englische Groß- und Kleinschreibung

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