This question also has an answer here (in German):

I would like to say in German the following:

The first chart describes ..., the second one shows... .

My version:

Die erste Grafik beschreibt ..., die zweite zeigt ... .

I am not sure whether I should use die zweite or rather die Zweite (i.e. treat zweite as a “substantiviertes Adjektiv”).

  • 3
    …die zweite… is correct. Die Zweite would introduce a new unrelated subject into the sentence, which isn't meant here.
    – Janka
    Jun 5, 2017 at 23:16
  • @Hulk and other close voters: Please note this Meta discussion.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jun 6, 2017 at 5:42
  • Die zweite can be seen as a short form for Die zweite Grafik, therefore ist must be zweite, not Zweite. This has been discussed before in the answers to the linked question, and I cannot see that this question adds anything new.
    – RHa
    Jun 6, 2017 at 6:43
  • @Wrzlprmft close vote retracted.
    – Hulk
    Jun 6, 2017 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


A short run-down of the linked answer that was in German:

Substantiated numerals are generally - like Substantives - written in upper-case.

Der Erste der diesjährigen Weltrangliste schafft die Strecke in etwa 5,9s.

but with an exception: In case there is another substantive around that the numerals relate to, they are written in lower case even if they have all the traits as before:

Die 100m-Läufer starten heute um 10:00 Uhr; der erste wird wahrscheinlich in unter 6s ins Ziel kommen.

So in your case, there actually is a related substantive, Grafik, so your proposal for writing the numeral in lower case is correct.

  • An example from German literature: Wie nun der erste Bediente mit einer Schüssel schönem Essen kam, stieß der Bauer seine Frau an und sagte „Grethe, das war der erste,“ und meinte es wäre derjenige, welcher das erste Essen brächte. (Brüder Grimm: Doctor Allwissend)
    – RHa
    Jun 6, 2017 at 9:10

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