Make your writing perfect with these 5 rules for capital letters

Nur weil es Gang und Gäbe ist, per SMS oder Twitter alles groß oder alles klein zu schreiben, sollten Sie diese Unsitte nicht auch in E-Mails übernehmen. Für die elektronische Post ist das ein No Go.

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At some time, someone must have started the rumour that you can write everything in small letters when you write emails. Well, it’s not true! For many people (myself included) it is a sign that the writer is too lazy to write properly, or even that they don’t know the rules! Make sure that no one thinks you are lazy or ignorant by using capital letters correctly in your emails.

Rule no. 1: The personal pronoun I (= ich) is always capital.

  • Thank you for your letter, which I received today.
  • I do not know what I would do without my iPhone.

Rule no. 2: English nouns are written with a small letter, but the first letter of a proper noun or word derived from a proper noun is always capital.

  • When I was in Japan, I saw Mount Fuji.
  • We have 10 European subsidiaries.
  • I love South Asian cuisine.

Rule no. 3: Titles that are part of names (Queen Elizabeth, Father O’Connor) are always capital. When they are not parts of names, they are written with a small letter.

  • I’m not very interested in kings and queens, but I’ve always admired Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands.
  • I have two aunts. This is a photograph of Aunt Maude.

Rule no. 4: Always begin the body of a letter or email with a capital letter.

Dear Mr Miller

After talking to you yesterday on the phone...

Rule no. 5: Always use capital letters for days of the week, months, and holidays like ‘Christmas’ or ‘Easter’. But use small letters for the seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter).

  • Many people do not like working on Mondays.
  • The spring sun is not usually very hot.
  • I prefer the Easter holiday (AE) / holidays (BE) to Christmas.

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English / Deutsch

aunt: Tante
body: Hauptteil
capital letter: Großbuchstabe
cuisine: Küche
to derive: ableiten
ignorant: unwissend
proper noun: Eigenname
rumour: Gerücht
subsidiary: Zweigstelle