What do you like about being big

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In a nutshell

To be right or to be right?

Anyone who capitalizes "right" is right. Since the spelling reform, the capitalization »Recht haben« has also been allowed, and between 1996 and 2006 only this was considered correct, but lowercase is now allowed again and is recommended by the Duden and German-speaking news agencies as the preferred variant.

The phrase "to be right" is not easy to determine linguistically. On the one hand will to have more often associated with nouns: Be scared; Have fun; Have time. This would suggest that we should also use the noun here Law have to do. This view is supported by the fact that there are very similar expressions in which we explicitly use the noun Law have to do: "You have no right to do that!" The noun is capitalized, especially in a legal context Law associated with a number of twists: Find right, speak right; seek and get one's right; apply, represent, violate, bend the law.

On the other hand, the fact that »are right« with more specific adverbs such as »very; speaks in favor of lower case; all; completely «can be expanded, which is not possible with, for example,» having fun «:» You're quite right «or» He is very right «- but:» He has a lot (Not: very fun". The possibility of the sentence order "How right you are!" Also indicates an adjective, because "How fun you are!" Would undoubtedly be ungrammatic.

In Duden Volume 1 you can find the following examples of fluctuating use in upper and lower case for the keyword »law / law«, whereby the Duden editorial team recommends lower case in each case:

- you're right or Done right
- Law or To be right; how right she is !; you are so right!
- Law or be right
- Law or Get right
- right to so or To be right
© Duden - The German Spelling, 25th edition Mannheim 2009 [CD-ROM]

The second line is interesting: In intensifying phrases like "how right she is!" Or "you are so right!", The Duden only allows lower case letters. Even the phrase "everything that is right" can only be used in lower case in the Duden according to § 56 of the spelling rules. But if you can only use lower case here, there are hardly any arguments for capitalizing "you are right".

See also
Word list: to be right / to be right

Julian von Heyl on July 13th, 2012 | Comments (12) | Visits: 38447

Section briefly explained:

The German language is riddled with pitfalls. Here we address selected problem cases and provide brief explanations and definitions of spelling, grammar and practical application.


1 Friedhelm Klein

Everything that is right: Without wanting to be opinionated, "being right" is rightly written in small letters.

The scandal is that the propaganda from 1996 to 2006 required capital letters, that millions of books were printed this way, just as many school children had to write this way and that we adults had sore eyes while reading them.

Now that we native speakers are gradually repairing the damage caused by the German hobbyists, we shouldn't pretend that nothing has happened!

Written by Friedhelm Klein on 09/04/12 12:04 PM

2 A concerned citizen

'The second line is interesting: [...] Even the phrase “everything that is right” is only allowed in lower case in the Duden according to Section 56 of the spelling rules. But if one is only allowed to write lower case here, there are hardly any arguments to be found for capitalizing “you are right”. '

In this case it does not refer to the law, but to "right = right". This argument is therefore not correct, but rather futile. The capitalization makes more sense, so it is logical for me that it has to be "right".

Posted by A Concerned Citizen on 9/26/12 3:12 PM

3 the right

I am also of the opinion that it has to be "right". Because it is usually not about legal law. Then capitalization would be appropriate. Otherwise not!

Posted by the law on 10/12/15 10:52 am

4 Holger

Actually, I've always done that right.
Everything that is right relates to righteousness or whether something is wrong or right.
Whoever is 'right' refers to law and order or anything that the legislature and judiciary are concocting. Therefore, it should be our right to be able to 'be right'. But only in such a context.

Written by Holger on 11/15/15 6:36 PM

5 Paul Moll

"... so he thought he was right." -
Is that correct?

Written by Paul Moll on 2/8/18 1:54 AM

6 Julian von Heyl

@Paul Moll: Both are correct:

... so he thought he was right.
... so he thought he was right.

The second variant with the lower case is the recommended variant, as can be read in the article above.

Written by Julian von Heyl on 2/8/2018 2:59 AM

7 righteousness

You are right / right! I think both are possible.
I would prefer capitalization because: she has the right on her side. In this respect, I think it relates more to the law than to the correctness.
In any case, the spelling reform has not simplified matters here.

Posted by Rechthaberei on 5/16/18 10:14 PM

8 Annette

Many thanks to the authors for the understanding explanations.

Posted by Annette on 9/17/2018 2:03 PM

9 Dennis Hill

How can one 'have' something that is not a noun? I'm lucky, unlucky, patience, money, time, pig, wrong / wrong ??? right 🤔
It is more logical in English, because you are right - You are right, Spanish takes haben_ tienes razon

I find the capitalized variant more logical and meaningful, because ultimately you can only "have" nouns

Well, although ... 🤔
on the other hand ... one is “quite right” certainly does not indicate a noun, so it has to mean “right”.

My conclusion: Both should be correct and neither of the two variants should be preferred.

The only question left is whether you agree with me or would you rather agree with me?
Let's see

Posted by Dennis Hill on 9/22/19 10:32 AM

10 Astrid Brammann

I will capitalize it in the legal sense and if I can use it "correctly" I will capitalize it. Thank you, was very insightful


Written by Astrid Brammann on 3/30/20 13:37

11 Immanuel Asmus

"I am listening."
"In this respect he is completely Prussian."
- These two sentences make it clear that the words “completely” and “completely” do not necessarily indicate adjectives.

"I'm on holiday."
- This example clearly shows that “haben” is not only used with nouns (or pronouns).

However, the quoted phrase “How right she is” clearly indicates an adjective - at least with the best will in the world, I can't think of an example where “how” defines a noun more precisely. At most adjectives derived from nouns: "How sucks that is"; "How shit I think that" etc.

Do you actually also write: “That's completely banana!”?

Written by Immanuel Asmus on 5/22/20 7:09 PM

12 Katrin Czerny

In any case, it is fine with me if you capitalize "are right", it seems a bit more modest.

Written by Katrin Czerny on 2/17/21 10:16 PM

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