Consider the sentence:

"Ich höre immer mal wieder gute Nachrichten, aber auch ab und zu schlechte."

The adjectives "gute, schlechte" in some contexts could be written capitalized, e.g. "Gute und Schlechte gab es schon immer."

In the given sentence, the word "gute" is an adjective to the noun "Nachrichten" and has to be written small. However is it correct that the word "schlechte" is also written small, and what exactly is the reason?


The rule is pretty simple:

When an adjective (or participle) relates to a preceding or following substantive, it must be written in lower case (it's not considered a substantivized adjective then). Note "relates" doesn't necessarily mean "in the same sentence" here - it means "context".

(Regeln des Deutschen Rechtschreibrats §58/1)

In your example, it's clear that both "gute" und "schlechte" relate to "Nachrichten".

This is even true for relations crossing sentence borders:

Der Verkäufer zeigte mir seine Auswahl an Krawatten. Die gestreiften und gepunkteten gefielen mir am besten.

Here, "gestreift" and "gepunktet" obviously relate to "Krawatten", so are not considered substantivized adjectives.

This is opposed to impersonated adjectives that don't relate to a substantive in context

Am Totensonntag gedenken wir der Toten

(There's an no substantive in context that "tot" could relate to here - Thus it's considered a substantivized adjective, thus upper-cased)

  • der Tote is a substantive, already, so is gedenken wir der Toten truly substantivized? – Bernhard Döbler Feb 15 at 12:59
  • 1
    @BernhardDöbler Is it? Duden lists it indeed as substantivized adjective. (duden.de/rechtschreibung/Toter) – tofro Feb 15 at 13:10

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