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The use of capital and small initial letters in German is governed by the following guidelines.

  • The first word of a sentence has a capital initial letter.
  • All true nouns have capital initial letters.
  • All types of word have capital initial letters when they are used as nouns.
  • The polite form Sie and the accompanying possessive pronoun Ihr always have capital initials, but the reflexive pronoun sich always has a small initial.
  • Words which are derived from geographical names and which end in -er have capital initial letters.
  • Adjectives ending in -isch which are derived from geographical names have small initials unless they form part of a proper name.
  • When nouns function other than as nouns, they have small initial letters.
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