Why is the following sentence correct?

Im Allgemeinen bin ich mit meiner Arbeit sehr zufrieden.

and the following wrong?

In allgemein bin ich mit meiner Arbeit sehr zufrieden.

Why "Allgemeinen" and not "allgemein"?

  • 1
    Why do you believe the second sentence could be correct? What is your reasoning?
    – user6495
    Aug 3, 2022 at 5:22
  • 2
    "im Allgemeinen" translates to "in general". "the general" (noun, meaning the opposite of specific) translates to "das Allgemeine". "general" (adjective) translates to "allgemein". Are you familar with German grammar? What case is "im Allgemeinen"?
    – user6495
    Aug 3, 2022 at 5:35
  • 1
    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to why English has this strange "in general" expression where a preposition is followed by an adjective.
    – RDBury
    Aug 3, 2022 at 5:36
  • 1
    "Allgemeines" is nominative and (like "das Allgemeine") a nominalisation of the adjective "allgemein".
    – user6495
    Aug 3, 2022 at 5:47
  • 3
    @Quant007 You cannot expect a simple literal translation from English to German to work. The result must make sense in German. In allgemein does not make any sense at all in German. A preposition followed by an adjective - what is that supposed to mean?
    – RHa
    Aug 3, 2022 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


Notice the presence of the definite article dem (hidden in im). So, im Allgemeinen is not a direct translation of in general, because there is no article in in general. (If there was one, it would rather be in the general in English, but this is not proper English, of course.) Other constructions which are analogue are:

  • in the grand scheme of things <> im Großen und Ganzen
  • in the month of may <> im Monat Mai
  • im Besonderen ("especially")

To me, as a German native speaker speaking English as a second language only, it looks more like in general is the exception here, as it is omitting the definite article being common in other analogue constructions.

The definite article forces uppercase then, because Allgemeinen is a substantivized noun. For some rules have a look at the relevant section in Duden.

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