I'm really confused. I cannot understand when I should use the (S) and the (EN). Here is an example :

  • Nasenloch
  • Arbeitslos
  • Hoffnungslos

Why in the first word We Use EN (Nachenloch) and not S (Nachsloch)?

And why Arbeitslos and not Arbeitenlos

When should I put EN or S?

  • 2
    It is not “Nachenloch”. I could have corrected that, but what should I have done with “Nachsloch” then?
    – Carsten S
    May 31, 2020 at 0:57
  • 1
    Because the consonant cluster -chs- is pronounced the same as -cks- in German. See Fuchs, Luchs, Dachs.
    – Janka
    May 31, 2020 at 6:46
  • 1
    This question seems uncorrectable! It is perfectly clear what the question is asking for, but without the questioner thinking it through and revising it thoroughly again, I would refuse to answer it.
    – Wolf
    May 31, 2020 at 15:08
  • 2
    @Janka: Not always, especially not when the chs results from appending some inflection or similar adaptation to a word that originally ended on ch - Die Titelseite des Buchs, die Tür des Gemachs, geruchsbasiert usw. Jun 1, 2020 at 7:40
  • @O.R.Mapper geruchsbasiert is the only in your collection with a joint element. That's was the point for me when I decided to give up: The OP didn't even take the patience to discover that it's Nase + Loch. And if you try to correct this question you get the answer. That means to me that this is a really bad question.
    – Wolf
    Jun 1, 2020 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


In the word "arbeit-s-los", a linking "s" is used to combine both parts of the word.

As copied from the articel: The linking "s" is used when the first word of the compounding ends with one of the following syllables: -tum, -ling, -ion, -tät, -heit, -keit, -schaft, -sicht, and -ung.

For the case of "Arbeit", it is handled like "-heit" or "-keit", although it is not in the examples.

You can find more examples, where you have to use the linking "s" and where you should follow other rules.

Unfortunatly, the word "Nasenloch" (nostril) is an exception for this rule. Have a look at the The Oxford Guide to Middle High German (MHG)

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