Alle vs allem


What is the difference between these two words and in which situations should each of them be used? When I check with a dictionary I get to the same result “All”.


Alle meaning all is always plural and declines as follows
nom alle
acc alle
dat allen
gen aller
Alle also has a fixed form all which is used in front of articles or possessive pronouns, here is an example from the course, 20.2
und all diese blöden Serien in der Hauptsendezeit.
and all the dumb series during prime time
another example:
All sein Mut war verschwunden
All his courage had disappeard
Alle can be used as a pronoun as well, however there is a special case, "everything" is treated as singular so we have vor allem meaning "especially" or literally "in front of everything".
However "everyone" is treated as plural so vor allen would be in front of everyone.

I hope I got all this right, maybe Liss will comment.



Hallo RexV und sfpugh!

Aller is a complicated word. But you are on the right track, sfpugh!

Aller actually has both singular and plural forms, however:

nom.: aller
acc.: allen 
dat.: allem 
gen.: alles/allen

nom.: alle
acc.: alle
dat.: aller
gen.: aller

nom.: alles
acc.: alles
dat.: allem
gen.: alles/allen

nom.: alle
acc.: alle
dat.: allen
​gen.: aller

Note that the genitive form alles is used when the noun does not take an -s ending in the genitive, and the genitive form allen is used when the noun does take an -s ending in the genitive.

You are also correct to say that the form all is used before possessive adjectives (e.g. "my," "his"), definite articles (i.e. "the") and demonstrative adjectives (e.g. "this," "that"), sfpugh. Note, however, that you may still sometimes see the inflected forms in the table above used in these situations. This would be a lower style register.

I hope that this clears up your question, RexV!




Thanks for pointing out the use aller in the singular Liss.
Would I be right in thinking it is normally used in the neuter alles - "everything" even the German national anthem.  Are there examples of use in the singular masculine and feminine forms or is it only used for things? 


Hallo sfpugh!

Yes, it's safe to say that the most common singular form would be the neuter alles, as in Ich habe alles gemacht "I have done everything" or Ich wollte dir für alles danken "I wanted to thank you for everything." It also appears in set phrases, like trotz allem "in spite of everything."

The other singular forms are much less common, and you're unlikely to see them by themselves. You will generally only see them in select phrases, such as aller Schmerz dieser Welt "all the pain in this world" or mit aller Kraft "with all (your) strength."

I hope that that is helpful!

Bis zum nächsten Mal,



Thank you, that's great.


Bitte! :)


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