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Is it an error when I do not use ß when it is necessary?

For my computer application, I have a font which does not contain the ß character. Is it acceptable in German to replace them with double s?


2 Answers 2


It is acceptable, because it is also common to use "SS" for words written in up-case letters, as there is no capital "ß" in the official orthography rules, so the up-case version of "Straße" ist "STRASSE" (sometimes you see things like "STRAßE" which is just a horribly incorrect spelling).

Therefore, writing "Strasse" instead of "Straße" would be formally incorrect, but acceptable in my option.

Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9F#Substitution_and_all_caps

  • -1, capital ß exists. Jan 20, 2013 at 21:50
  • 3
    @Eugene Seidel: Not in the official orthography rules, see here. It says "(...) Sie ist nicht Bestandteil der amtlich verbindlichen deutschen Rechtschreibung". (It's funny that in order to prove your claim, you reference to an answer of yourself that has been down-voted) Jan 21, 2013 at 9:09
  • You wrongly claimed that there is no capital ß. Kindly accept my correction that ẞ (<-- capital ß in Arial) does exist. Read past the lead of the Wiki article to find that ẞ is solidly part of Unicode. And that the managing director of the German Orthography Council has no objections to people using ẞ, but is waiting for usage to become more widespread before the Council officially acknowledges this in their rules. ẞ also has a long (if contentious) tradition in German typography. Finally I don't care how many downvotes this answer of mine (which references the selfsame Wiki article) gets. Jan 21, 2013 at 9:47
  • @Eugene Seidel: Ok, I kindly accepted your correction. Would you please kindly remove your down-vote as well? Jan 21, 2013 at 10:10
  • Downvote retracted. I disagree about the reason you gave for why it is common to use SS instead of ẞ. The hindrances to ẞ becoming more widespread are: (1) lack of ẞ on current keyboards; (2) lack of ẞ glyph in many fonts; (3) lack of stencils in signpainting shops; (4) in-house rules; (5) inertia. The non-committal attitude of the Orthography Council is not a hindrance. However, this is a matter of opinion and does not merit my maintaining the downvote. Jan 21, 2013 at 10:56

Yes. Replacing 'ß' with 'ss' is the correct thing to do if there's no 'ß' character available. Otherwise, use of 'ß' is orthographically mandatory in Germany, Austria and Luxemburg.

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