What is the correct plural of "assembly" in a German document?

I googled "assemblys" to validate the spelling. Google suggests: Did you mean "assemblies"? But the third search result is a link to the Microsoft MSDN where these guys use "Assemblys" (and I think they should know it).

As far as I know, the correct spelling is "assemblies", but I'm confused about the usage in the MSDN. So how should I write the plural of assembly in a German resume?

Edit: (upper- or lowercase?)
I use this word not at the beginning of a sentence, but my intention is to definitly write the first letter in uppercase (Assembly, not assembly). Everything else is looking strange for me in a German document. As the english dudes write their assembly in lowercase even in that quoted MSDN-Article (switched to english-USA), I prefer the German rule to write the first letter in uppercase. If I now use an englisch rule to let it end with "..ies", I'm going to mix up rules from different languages within a single word. Otherwise I can show that I'm aware of the rule building plurals in english. May be that writing it as "Assemblies" is at least looking "less faulty". Does anyone know?

  • I'd definitely go with assemblies, although - comparing to Party(s) - the correct German version is likely assemblys. Have also a look at the German Wikipedia article about .NET (in which assemblies is used)
    – Em1
    Sep 5, 2012 at 7:08
  • Achtung: manche Artikel in der MSDN werden maschinel übersetzt, ich weiß nicht ob es bei diesem der Fall ist (die Übersetzungen sind überraschend gut, aber nicht immer richtig). Sep 5, 2012 at 7:19
  • @JoachimSauer Das war das erste, was ich überprüft habe. Der Text wurde von Hand übersetzt.
    – Em1
    Sep 5, 2012 at 7:23
  • @JoachimSauer Ich konnte keinen Hinweis auf eine automatische/manuelle Übersetung finden. Die englischen Varianten (UK+USA) verwenden Assemblies. Frage mich, ob die englischen Regeln Anwendung finden können wenn ich es als (deutschen) Fachbegriff verwende.
    – Markus
    Sep 5, 2012 at 7:28
  • @Markus Dann nein. Wenn du davon ausgehst, dass Assembly ein deutscher Fachbegriff ist, ist es mit Sicherheit Assemblys, aber ich handhabe den Begriff als Fachbegriff aus der Englischen Sprache und würde deshalb stets die englische korrekte Pluralform verwenden.
    – Em1
    Sep 5, 2012 at 7:35

3 Answers 3


If you use foreign words in a German sentence you have to use German rules (German grammar). The reason for this is very simple: If you are speaking German you don't need to know the grammar of foreign languages.

I give you some examples:

"pizza" is an Italien word. The Italian plural is "pizze". (Notice, that "pizza" and "pizze" is written all lower-case according to italien rules.)

Wrong: Heute esse ich eine pizza und morgen esse ich zwei pizze.
Correct: Heute esse ich eine Pizza und morgen esse ich zwei Pizzas.
Also correct: Heute esse ich eine Pizza und morgen esse ich zwei Pizzen.

"Kimono" is a japanese Word (着物). I have no clue what is it's plural in Japanese language. But I can use it in a german sentence without learning Japanese:

Heute trage ich einen Kimono.
Gestern sah ich fünf Kimonos in einem Geschäft.

"dame" is a french word. The french plural is "dames" but I don't need to know that if I talk about ladies ("dames"/"Damen") in German:

Wrong: Lisa ist eine echte dame. Ich bitte alle dames zum Tanz.
Correct: Lisa ist eine echte Dame. Ich bitte alle Damen zum Tanz.

The same is true for words comming from English too:

"babysitter" is used in English both, for male and female babysitters. The english plural is "babysitters":

Wrong: Wir hatten schon drei verschiedene babysitters. Die aktuelle babysitter heißt Anna.
Correct: Wir hatten schon drei verschiedene Babysitterinnen. Die aktuelle Babysitterin heißt Anna.

English singular: hobby. Englisch plural: hobbies. But when I talk about hobbies in a german sentence, I do not need to know anything about english grammar:

Wrong: Helmuts hobby ist Fernsehen. Andere hobbies hat er nicht.
Correct: Helmuts Hobby ist Fernsehen. Andere Hobbys hat er nicht.

So, what is true for "Hobbys", "Babys", "Cowboys", "Teddys" and "Dummys" must be true for "Assemblys" too.

But it would be much better if you would use the German word "Baugruppe" instead.

  • 1
    Thanks, this give me a good feeling to make it right. (BTW: I think no one will understand Baugruppe in context of talking about DLLs) ;-)
    – Markus
    Sep 6, 2012 at 4:01
  • 1
    Am I the only one who would use "Babysitter" for a female babysitter as well? Sep 7, 2012 at 7:08
  • @JoachimSauer: To use the word "babysitter" for female babysitters is absolutelly correct if you are talking english. But in German you have the gender-problem. "Ein Lehrer" is a male teacher. A female teacher is "eine Lehrerin". If you use "Lehrer" as a plural word it gets complicated, but for singular it is clear. You never will use the word "Lehrer" for a single female teacher. A female assistant is "eine Sekretärin", never "ein Sekretär". Same is true for anglizismns: A female trainer is in German "eine Trainerin", not "ein Trainer", and so a female babysitter is "eine Babysitterin". Sep 7, 2012 at 7:30
  • 1
    @Hubert Schölnast: Actually I would treat "Babysitter" as a generic term (Generisches Maskulinum) - I look for a "Babysitter", not for a "Babysitter or Babysitterin".
    – mthomas
    Sep 10, 2012 at 21:24
  • @HubertSchölnast: Prima Antwort. Aber "Ein Lehrer" kann auch die geschlechtlich nicht definierte Form sein. "In der Pause muss ein Lehrer den Schulhof betreuen". Daraus würde ich folgern dass es entweder ein Mann oder eine Frau tun muss - nicht, dass es zwingend ein Mann ist. "Lehrer" als Plural ist auch nicht complicated, sondern schlicht richtig. Sep 11, 2012 at 4:11

You have the choice. The standard rule for the plural of nouns coming from foreign (modern) languages is to add -s, especially in the case of germanized English words ending with -y.

"Also" : Babys, Ladys, Assemblys (if you consider it a German word), and Pizzas, Espressos.

Note that Duden (German leading dictionnary editor) says so.

However, the classic rule of most european languages is to keep the original form : babies, bacteria, etc. It used to be also the rule in German, but not anymore, even if some newspapers use it because it's cool.

My recommendation : use the English plural form, in quotes or in italic to mark it as a foreign word. My personal rule in any language is to try to avoid mixed forms of foreign words if they aren't broadly accepted, or if they are badly adapted concepts or if they are ugly or useless (eg avoid the French mèle for email and write email or message électronique). I write a German word, or an English one, but no Germlish, Frenglish, or Sperman (badly choosed combination for Spanish words adapted in German).

If you read heise publications (German leading IT press editor) you can take their language practices as rules because they are very very careful and correct (as with any kind of standardization). And it's an exception because the German newspaper writers usually have very bad spelling and grammar.

upper-/lowercase : Writing "Assemblies" would definitely be false.

  • 1
    +1 for your answer, but -1 for your edit.
    – Em1
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:24
  • which edit ? concerning heise ?
    – Yves
    Sep 5, 2012 at 9:09
  • 2
    -1. There is no standard rule to add "s" to form a plural–in fact, German words rarely use "s" as plural marker. It's very common for words derived from English, though. I also strongly disagree with your other suggestion. When used in a text, "Assembly" is just a normal German word, and should therefore be capitalized like any German noun, and never put in quotes (it's not a quotation!) or italicized. Regarding the plural form, I'd consider both variants ("Assemblys" and "Assemblies") correct, with a slight preference towards the former, which is analogous to "Babys" and "Partys".
    – Philipp
    Sep 5, 2012 at 21:41
  • I'm talking about the standard rule for foreign words (Pluralform von Fremdwörter) in the reformed spelling and grammar rules, not the standard rule for the German language, and we agree on this. You did'nt read the end of the first phrase.
    – Yves
    Sep 6, 2012 at 10:11
  • Ich denke persönliche Regeln haben hier nichts verloren - es geht darum, was richtig ist. Zwar reagiert man bei Heise auf Anregungen zur Schreibung, aber dies ist auch häufig nötig. Sep 11, 2012 at 4:23

In this special case an "Assembly" is what Microsoft named their component of the .NET framework:

Assemblys sind die Bausteine von .NET Framework-Anwendungen Microsoft DE
Assemblies are the building blocks of .NET Framework applications Microsoft US

Therefore it is not a technical term used in the German language we are talking here. It is a proper noun adopted by Microsoft for their software component.

My advice would be to go with Yves and put it in quotes "Assembly", or pl. "Assemblys" (because Microsoft say its spelt like that - odd as it looks). In case we write to an audience that is not familiar with the .NET Framework we may also want to add this to our text like e.g. "Microsoft .NET Assemblys" to further clarify what we mean.

This also makes clear that we do not talk about other assemblies that would then need to be translated to be understood.

  • 1
    Müsste es nicht heißen: ".NET-Framework-Anwendungen"?
    – celtschk
    Sep 10, 2012 at 13:08
  • @celtschk: es handelt sich um ein Zitat der Microsoft Seite. Zitate sollten unverändert wiedergegeben werden. Ansonsten hast Du natürlich Recht.
    – Takkat
    Sep 11, 2012 at 6:13

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