I haven't used German very much since the "reform" of 1996, but (for instance) I see that "daß" seems to have been replaced by "dass."

My question is: how seriously do people take the change? As an example, in the old days, for "except that" I would have written "außer daß", but recently I have seen "außer dass". Is "daß" now regarded as an error, or just as a variation? Would a proofreader correct it?

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    Looking around, I see the "ss instead of ß following short vowels" as just about the only change from Neue Rechtschreibung that's being applied near-universally. There's a reason for that and it's that this change makes sense and is useful. As for the rest, when to capitalise and when not, when to write as one word and when as two and whatnot, it's pure anarchy out there. It was bad before the Reform and now it's much worse. And even this particular change is being undermined by top-selling, criminally incompetent pop music acts like Silbermond who make short vowels rhyme with long vowels! Jan 1, 2013 at 9:53
  • When I type I use double-s, when I hand write I use ß... I like strokes needed for it so that's why... BTW: I have the feeling that people increasingly make mistakes where they forget one s so they confuse the both "dasss". But maybe that was the case before the reform too and I didn't pay attention (I was 16).
    – Emanuel
    Jan 3, 2013 at 10:37
  • @eugene... how can you "make something rhyme. Either it does rhyme or it doesn't. Just having it at the end f 2 consecutive lines doesn't define it as rhyme. So maybe it just doesn't rhyme after all... however, I think the concept of what rhymes and what doesn't is up to each person. I rap music you find sooooooo many combination that are logically not a rhyme and yet the sound kind of gets across the idea and the feel a rhyme creates.
    – Emanuel
    Jan 3, 2013 at 10:40
  • In my opinion, "daß" looks better than "dass", although I know since that "dass" is correct since 1996.
    – jocap
    Mar 24, 2013 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


Yes, a proofreader would correct 'daß' to 'dass' (unless the writing was for a publication not conforming to the neue Rechtschreibung - such publications do exist). The general principle regarding ß and ss in the neue Rechtschreibung is that ß is to be used following long vowels and ss following short vowels.

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    Could you give examples of long and short vowels? Spaß and dass both have an a but one uses ß and the other ss. By length do you mean the length of the vowel in the pronunciation?
    – elssar
    Jan 1, 2013 at 1:11
  • Thanks for the answer. According to the principle you stated, we would write not only "Spaß" and "dass", as quoted by elssar, but also "Straße" and "Klasse". So the following vowel makes no difference, and in these cases the reform has not actually changed anything. Is this correct?
    – abacus
    Jan 1, 2013 at 8:09
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    @elssar: Yes, I do. I think of a vowel primarily as a sound rather than a letter. Another pair of examples would be Fuß and Fluss.
    – Tara B
    Jan 1, 2013 at 9:01
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    @abacus: That is correct. It is the vowel sound before the ß or ss which determines which should be used. Most spelling followed that principle anyway before the reform; the point of the reform was to standardise things like this.
    – Tara B
    Jan 1, 2013 at 9:03
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    Its not the following vowel after ss or ß that makes the difference, but the preceding vowel! In "Spaß" and "Straße" the vowel "a" preceding the doubtful letter is spoken long, and so it must be followed by "ß". On the other hand the preceding "a" in "dass" and "Klasse" is spoken short, so it must be followed by "ss". Jan 1, 2013 at 13:53

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