Naively, both (monoteistic and pagan) would be "der Gott". In Russian language the God and a god are also often discrimitated by capitalisation. How does it go in German?

Answers to the related question Where don't we use an article with God employ both cases in examples, but do not specifically address the difference.

  • 3
    Related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/24637/…
    – Carsten S
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:12
  • @CarstenS, Yes, I have looked at that answer.
    – Vi.
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    For example, imagine a fiction story with both gods and the God, or a priest persuading to drop gods and idols and believe in God instead.
    – Vi.
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:49
  • 2
    What is the difference that capitalization makes in Russian? That should be stated in the question.
    – c.p.
    Apr 20, 2016 at 18:45
  • @c.p., I assume the same as in English - abrahamic God versus just a powerful enough creature.
    – Vi.
    Apr 21, 2016 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


In German, the same word, namely Gott, is used for gods that you believe in and those that you do not believe in. However, a Christian will also use Gott as a name without article when referring to his god, while using an indefinite article or specifying the exact god that he is talking about when talking about other gods.

  • So some word plays in written texts based on this may be untranslatable to German?
    – Vi.
    Apr 20, 2016 at 17:18
  • 2
    I don't know, can you imagine one that works in written English but not in spoken English?
    – Carsten S
    Apr 20, 2016 at 17:34
  • It works the same way with other proper nouns, uhm, I mean Proper Nouns ;-) In my network technologies classes ("Telematik-Vorlesungen"), we would say "ein Internet" (internet, a network comprised of many smaller independent networks) and "das Internet" (Internet, the largest, most well-known of the internets), for example. Apr 20, 2016 at 21:55

Try, for instance, for god and бог


For any noun shall be capitalized. Not to be confused with


  • Placing the word in quotes kind of ridicules or diminishes the word, as if the "quoted" god is not a "real" or full blown god in the eyes of the writer. No capitalisation god is fully neutral. Apr 21, 2016 at 7:32
  • This would only create confusion.
    – Chieron
    Apr 21, 2016 at 7:33
  • @hiergiltdiestfu That's precisely what is asked above. The OP was not clear in his intention either.
    – c.p.
    Apr 21, 2016 at 7:45
  • I'm sorry, I'm just not reading this into the question. That interpretation assumes that no capitalisation gods by default are less worthy than the capital G God. I don't know how the nuances are laid out between the russian variants, but in the given english intermediary, this distinction in value is not made from a language perspective. Apr 21, 2016 at 8:29

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