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When to use the double s character?

Is there any rhyme or reason to when it is appropriate to use the fancy double s character? Duolingo seems to tolerate it when used in the following "Ich heisse Dave", but doesn't like it in the phrase "Ich esse Fleisch"

April 1, 2018


[deactivated user]

    Hi Rudgedw. Assuming the English was: "I eat meat" then "Ich esse Fleish" is correct. I've only seen "My name is Dave" as "ich heiße Dave" - never "ich heisse Dave". So Duolingo's behavior confuses me. However, here is a passage from a text:

    "German-speaking countries mandated a number of spelling reforms during the years 1996 through 2005. The main difference [...] is that the diagraph "ß" has been replaced in some instances by "ss." To know whether to use "ß" or "ss," determine whether the vowel sound is short or long. If it uses short, "ss," and if it is long, use "ß." For example, after the short "a" in dass, we have double "s," while after the long "ie" in "schließen," we have the ligature "ß" - 501 Essential German Verbs.


    usually you use it after a long vowel or a diphthong, which is a double vowel like the "ei" in "ich heiße". A short vowel leads to "ss". Sometimes that's important, like the difference between "Masse" - mass - and Maße - measurements.

    If you miss the letter, a double s is always accepted. In Switzerland there is no "sz" or "sharp s" (ß) at all. Never use a capital b as a substitute. That's as wrong as it can get.


    double s? do you mean "ß"? if so that is not a double s, it is a "sharp s"

    and yes vor "heiße" it is correct (on the other hand heisse is actually wrong) "esse" musst be with double s. german has 3 kinds of s the normal single s the double s and the sharp s (ß). they can usually not be exchanged.


    Hello rudgedw ... off topic, but I see you're very far advanced in German from English. Have you thought about taking the reverse German tree (English from German)? I just started it about a month ago, and have already learned at lot more German that way!


    That's a great idea! I'm working my way through the crown level, but I will do as you suggest. Thanks!

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