German Language Blog

Groß- und Kleinschreibung – Upper and lower case Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Language

Dear German learners,

recently I came across some sentences that made me smile and let me think of German language…and as well I had to think about you people who are learning the language as foreigners. I guess sometimes upper and lower case might drive you crazy while learning. I can totally understand…

But look at the following sentences and their spelling. The translation shows, that the meaning of the sentences could be totally different depending on the ortography. So upper and lower case sometimes really make sense:

Die Spinnen.
Die spinnen.

The spiders.
They´re nuts.

Der gefangene Floh.
Der Gefangene floh.

The captured flea.
The prisoner escaped.

Er verweigerte Speise und Trank.
Er verweigerte Speise und trank.

He rejected meat and drink.
He rejected meat and drank.

Der Junge sieht dir ungeheuer ähnlich.
Der Junge sieht dir Ungeheuer ähnlich.

The boy enormously looks like you.
The boy resembles you monster.

Wäre er doch nur Dichter.
Wäre er doch nur dichter.

If only he was a poet.
If only it was leakproof. (Or: If only he was more drunk.)

Vor dem Fenster sah sie den geliebten Rasen.
Vor dem Fenster sah sie den Geliebten rasen.

In front of the window she saw her beloved carpet.
In front of the window she saw her Lover running.

Er hat in Berlin liebe Genossen.
Er hat in Berlin Liebe genossen.

He has nice comrades in Berlin.
He enjoyed love in Berlin.

Beschädigte Liegen in meiner Filiale.
Beschädigte liegen in meiner Filiale.

Damaged couches in my store.
Damaged ones are lying in my store.

Die nackte Sucht zu quälen.
Die Nackte sucht zu quälen.

The plain addiction to torture.
The naked girl tries to torture.

Surprising, isn´t it?!?


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About the Author: jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.


  1. Paul:

    How funny. I started taking Rosetta Stone lessons for German just a few days ago. I kept on getting confused why some words were capitalized. It never occurred to me that they were nouns.
    Your post makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

  2. Cecilia:

    Hallo Jan,
    wenn ich das richtig verstanden habe, bist du Deutscher?
    Mir gefällt Transparent Language sehr gut, ich übe und ergänze hier mein Englisch auf kurzweilige Art.
    Dein heutiger Blog gefällt mir recht gut, die lustigen Ausdrücke und Sätze bringen uns Learner zum Lachen.
    Ich freue mich auf weitere Beiträge von dir!


  3. joseph:


  4. Dat is schnee es schneit!:

    Lustiges ganz neues Video auf YouTube!

  5. Oluf:

    Vor dem Fenster sah sie den geliebten Rasen.

    In front of the window she saw her beloved carpet.

    > Rasen means lawn, not carpet…

  6. garcinia cambogia:

    lol! thanks for your site. We really enjoyed it so much!

  7. Alison:

    Enjoyed this post, was good practice for my German too. I guess in English we must just have more fun with puns when sentences are inexact!

    If you happen to know any Bavarian Jan would there be an chance of a post on some fun Bavarian sayings/vocab? I love the accent and having fun trying out my bad Bavarian on my friends in Munich.

  8. Keith Duncan:

    I can see how to tell the difference when reading, but how do you tell when speaking…

    • Sten:

      @Keith Duncan You don’t have to, as you are speaking. There is no difference in speaking!

      If you wonder about a different meaning, for example in the case of “sie” and “Sie”, it always becomes clear from the context.