This morning I had a discussion with my coworker about the word "offene".

We have a file called "Offene_Posten.csv". I told him, it sounds better in german when it was called "Offenes_Posten.csv".

What is the correct way to name this file? And why is that the correct way?

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    Could you please clarify which meaning of "Posten" you mean? Maybe provide an English translation of what the filename should be. – QueensKnight Jun 29 '18 at 12:58
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    I find "offene Posten" sounds better than "offenes posten". The first one means "open positions", while the latter could mean "post openly". I assume the former is meant. – Rudy Velthuis Jun 29 '18 at 14:58

The correct way to name the file is "Offene_Posten.csv". "Offenes_Posten.csv" is plainly false.

Explanation: In German adjectives need to match noun in number, gender and case. For your example the base-noun is "der Posten" (the item or asset, but also job position). It does not become clear if you have only one open item, or (more likely) a list of open items. Let's assume that the number is actual multiple ones (plural). The gender of "der Posten" is masculine. Lastly you need to identify the case. Since you are not using the noun in a sentence, the case will be the first case (nominative).

If you use google to search for a declination table for "offen" (base form of "offene") and look for plural, masculine, nominative you will probably see the suggestion that leads to a filename of "Die_offenen_Posten.csv". But since you are not including the article in your filename you have to look at the article less table, leaving you with the filename "Offene_Posten.csv".

Bonus: If your file truly only contains a single open item, then the filename could also be "Offener_Posten.csv" (same reasoning as above but for the combination: singular, male, nominative, without article).

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  • You are right as long as Roy asked for an equivalent for "open positions" (which can correctly be translated as Offene Posten). But he could - theoretically - also have intended to speak about "open posting", and in this case Offenes Posten would be correct. - Mind the different pronunciation of the two nouns. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 29 '18 at 12:44
  • It's der Posten (male), but die Position (female) – RHa Jun 29 '18 at 12:48
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    @ChristianGeiselmann, thanks for the input. I will add a comment asking for clarification. Having worked as a programmer for companies, I assumed it would be open positions that needed to be resolved. The alternative meaning slipped my attention. – QueensKnight Jun 29 '18 at 12:55
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    "Offenes Posten" ist, besonders bei gegebener Dateiendung "csv", eine hahnebüchene Spekulation - okay für die Kommentare, aber kaum wert, in die Antwort aufgenommen zu werden (könnte von mir stammen). Als Nichtgrammatiker frage ich mich aber, was das Geschlecht hier verloren hat. Der offene Hass, das offene Herz, die offene Frage - das ist alles herzlich unbeeindruckt vom Geschlecht und ändert sich auch im Plural nicht: Die offenen Herzen, Fragen und Aufstände. (Mz. von Hass kenne ich nicht). – user unknown Jun 29 '18 at 15:56
  • @userunknown Ich danke Dir für Dein offenes Posten zum Thema möglicher Hanebüchigkeit von Filenamenlesungen. – Christian Geiselmann Jun 29 '18 at 17:54

I am almost certain that the naming of the file is based on an expression used in accounting. So this would most likely also be in plural, also because the CSV format is used to store list data. So "Offene_Posten.csv" should be the correct version.

I have some doubt that "open positions" is the right translation, as this is normally related to open working positions in the sense of jobs. I am not familiar with the english terms used in accouting though.
The better translation might me "open items", "outstanding items" or "open receivables".

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It depends on what »Posten« means. It can be:

  • das Posten
    This is the act of posting something (like posting comments on social media). In this case

    das offene Posten

    could be the title of a guideline on how to post comments more open (i.e. openminded or freely). Without article the attribute needs to be inflected this way:

    offenes Posten

  • der Posten
    This is a position (in a company), so it is a job.

    der offene Posten

    is an open (i.e. vacant) position in a company. And a document with that title might be the description of such a job position. Without article this is:

    offener Posten

  • die Posten
    This is not a feminine word, it is just the plural of der Posten. If you have more than one vacant positions in your company, this is

    die offenen Posten

    Without article:

    offene Posten

Since your file has the extension .csv (comma separated value) I guess that it's content is used for a table calculation program, and this does not sound like a guideline for openminded posting on social media, and it also doesn't sound like the description of one singe position. It sounds like some statistics about many open positions within a company. So we are talking about »die Posten«, and then the best choice is:


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