German: ss vs ß

Hi, question about German titles. I am assuming that ‘ss’ and ‘ß’ in German titles are largely interchangeable and likely ambiguous. Is this true, and if so, are there any notable exceptions?

No, there are rules. Duden has a short overview:

Keep in mind Switzerland doesn’t use it and the usage has changed over time

Also you’ll often see ss used in all caps titles


I strongly recommend to add it “as on release” since the rules are hard to understand for non-German speakers. You have to know the pronunciation (“ß” after long vowels, “ss” after short vowels).


It’s further complicated due to the spelling reform 1996, which changed the handling of ß / ss for some words. So releases before 1996 might write “Kuß” (despite the short vowel), after 1996 “Kuss”.

So yeah, as indy133 said, write it as it is on the release. Worst thing that’ll happen is probably that an uppercase “SS” would have been really a “ß” when turning lowercase. But people can read it just fine and someone really knowing the details could correct it.

It’s something even Germans and Austrians are frequently confused about (and the Swiss love to make fun of it, as they got rid of the ß long time ago) :smile:


Thanks everyone. “Don’t try this at home.” Got it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Something I actually didn’t know before: because of this rule there can be differences in German and Austrian spelling of “ß” vs. “ss”. It sounds like an easy to follow rule if you speak the language, but when German speakers can’t agree on whether a vowel is short or long it becomes complicated again.