I'm wondering about the spelling of verbs composed of a noun and another verb, e.g., korrekturlesen.

First off, there appears to be a difference between korrekturlesen – which is compound – and similar combinations which aren't contracted, e.g., Trübsal blasen, Amok laufen. Is there a general rule for this?

Second, what's the capitalization rule for its declined form, i.e., Er liest Korrektur. vs. Er liest korrektur.?

  • 3
    It's Korrektur lesen, not korrekturlesen. Is your question answered with this? Aug 17, 2012 at 19:40
  • @JohnSmithers Oh is it? Yes, that would answer the question completely. Aug 17, 2012 at 21:04
  • What's about Händewaschen?
    – Matthias
    Aug 17, 2012 at 21:34
  • I deleted my misleading answer, but would like to refer to Duden §34(3) (@JohnSmithers I referred to the wrong paragraph before).
    – Matthias
    Aug 18, 2012 at 8:08
  • 1
    @JohnSmithers I just want to mention that das Korrekturlesen is valid. I guess that's the cause of the problem.
    – Em1
    Aug 18, 2012 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


A connection of a noun and a verb is in most cases (not always!) written as two separate words:

Rad fahren
Schnee schaufeln

Note: This is only true for "Neue Rechtschreibung". Before 1996 you had to write it together: radfahren, schneeschaufeln. Since the combounds are verbs (not nouns), they start with a lower case letter!

But there is an exception: If in the combound expression the "former" noun is not recognized as a noun, then you write both together as one word:

heimkommen (not: Heim kommen) (to come home)
irreführen (not: Irre führen) (to deceive/delude)
preisgeben (not: Preis geben) (to reveal)
teilnehmen (not: Teil nehmen) (to participate)

In the case of "Korrektur lesen" the word "Korrektur" still is recognizeable as a noun, so it is wrong to write it together. "korrekturlesen" ist wrong. "Korrektur lesen" is correct.

Trübsal blasen
Amok laufen
Korrektur lesen
Hände waschen

  • 2
    Nur im die Leute irrezuführen: Man kann auch jemanden in die Irre führen. :) Aug 19, 2012 at 12:54
  • Am I correct when I say that the compounds, although spelled as separate words, are spelled as one when used as participate, e.g, "Blut saugen" becomes "blutsaugend", "Rad fahren" becomes "radfahrend"? Aug 20, 2012 at 0:24
  • @Nico: No. It is "Dracula ist ein Blut saugender Vampier". "Lisa nähert sich Rad fahrend der Kreuzung". Aug 20, 2012 at 6:31
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    I just found the rule at duden.de/sprachwissen/rechtschreibregeln/…: "Hier ist jedoch neben der Getrenntschreibung auch die Zusammenschreibung zulässig." Both "Blug saugend" and "blutsaugend" are acceptable spellings. Aug 20, 2012 at 18:43
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    I'm pretty sure that before the spelling reform, "blutsaugend" was the only allowed form. However I'm also pretty sure that both before and after the spelling reform, "Vampir" was spelled without an "e" :-)
    – celtschk
    Sep 12, 2012 at 15:53

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