What is the proper way to write an Eszett on paper with a pen? In English we are told to start letters at the top, but the ß only has ends at the bottom, so what is the proper way to draw the letter?

4 Answers 4


In German there is not a single "proper" way to write letters in handwriting. There are regional variations (see here for details).

For schools in Germany there are federal regulations that define how pupils learn to write. Most widely used are the "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift" and the "Vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift". In these the letter 'ß' is written as follows:

"Vereinfachte Ausgangsschrift":

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"Lateinische Ausgangsschrift":

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  • What is the english word for 'Unterlänge'? Upvoting for the underlength! :) Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 1:48
  • 5
    If "Unterlänge" means the part of a letter which extends below the line, you use "descender" in English.
    – Stovner
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 8:15
  • 1
    Maybe it's worth noting that ß does not have an uppercase form. Instead it's substituted with SZ. Edit: Whoops, obviously I'm not up-to-date about that.
    – Bobby
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Bobby Using SZ must be really old style. 40 years ago I already learned to use SS instead. Just as ss is used in lower case if you don't have a ß on your ancient typewriter.
    – Gerhardh
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:06
  • @Takkat, in addition to regional variations even the way I learned to write some letters 40 years ago is different from what pupils learn nowadays in the same region.
    – Gerhardh
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:07

A picture is worth a thousand words:

scharfes S ß how to write

  • 4
    I hate it when my customers say that, because it means they didn't understand what I wrote. But +1 for the answer ;) Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 8:39
  • 3
    @OregonGhost I don't get it. Could you draw a diagram please? ;-)
    – splattne
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 8:40
  • 1
    The first one looks like a capital B, no 'Unterlänge'. No + from me. :( Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 1:51
  • 7
    @user_unknown: The first word is written in blockletters ("Druckschrift"). No "Unterlänge" required in a blockletter ß.
    – splattne
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 6:08
  • 1
    @userunknown: I suggest the addition of a writing sample of the word Buße, to indicate the contrast between B and ß ;) Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 10:44
  |  \
  |   )
/||  <,
 ||   )
.||..'..............the line...

Somehow like that. It depends - as always - how the previous letter ended, and what the next letter is.


I just write it like my greek beta

|  \
|   )
|  3
|  \
|   )
|  4

There are some people writing it with an upstroke (quite similar to user unknowns proposal) like that: ß (sz) stroke order taken from WikiBooks German

Other variants, which are no more/not yet teached in Germany, are from the Schulausgangsschrift (left) and the proposed Grundschrift (right)

ß (sz) Schulausgangsschrift and Grundschrift


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