I've noticed that Apple's current German homepage (July 2011) uses the expression "mit deinen ganzen Apps" as you can see in this screenshot I took:

Apple homepage Germany

The whole sentence is

Und weil iCloud so entwickelt wurde, dass es ideal mit deinen ganzen Apps zusammenarbeitet, passiert alles ganz automatisch.

Besides the repeated usage of ganz in this sentence which I consider bad style: doesn't ganz just mean "entire", "complete" or "full" and can only be used on singular words? Is it okay to use it colloquially?

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    IMO such formulations are quite common in colloquial language: "Ein Windstoß, und meine ganzen Unterlagen waren durcheinander!". But in written language, "all meine...", "all deine..." is definitely preferable (not to say "meine/deine ganzen..." is really bad style). I wonder if Apple's expression is formulated deliberately sloppy, but i suppose it isn't. That page offers some more strange expressions: "Schau die Keynote", "Apple enthüllt nächste Generation von Software"... sounds like the "german" MSDN "translations" to me. – tohuwawohu Jul 19 '11 at 8:06
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    @tohuwawohu I'd upvote your comment if it was an answer. :) – splattne Jul 19 '11 at 8:13
  • @tohuwawohu "Schau die Keynote." wow, didn't notice that line. Embarrassing... – splattne Jul 19 '11 at 8:30
  • I think that is what happens when visual design (i.e. the text fitting in the space originally meant for the original English text) is prioritized over grammar. – Joachim Sauer Jul 19 '11 at 8:51
  • There is a similar phenomenon in French where "il y a plein d'applications" tends to replace "il y a beaucoup d'applications". This annoys me and I consider it bad style too. If it so happened that we were the last two grammar prescriptivists , I'd consider it a great honour to be in your company... – Georges Elencwajg Jul 19 '11 at 22:30

The German adjective "ganz" is an old word with unclear etymology that was already used in Old High German. There are several meanings for "ganz", with the example given in the Apple commercial fitting best to:

ganz = complete, entire, whole

Other meanings when used as an adjective include full, and colloquial unbroken, intact (incomplete list).

Using "ganz" with a noun in singular, or in mathematics and music is possible and good style:

Sie hatten das ganze Buch gelesen.
Er hatte sein ganzes Leben darauf gewartet.
Es hat den ganzen Tag geregnet.
Die ganzen Zahlen sind für Mathematiker auch "natürlich".
Das Lied enthält nur ganze und halbe Noten.

There is little dispute that the usage on Apple's website is bad style and colloquial at most, as there it was used with a subject in plural. Other examples of this colloquial usage have been mentioned in the comments:

"die ganzen Unterlagen"
"Deine ganzen Wörterbücher"

If we use "ganz" in a colloquial setting or in commercials we have to be aware that this adds considerable casuality. In Apple's case this may have been done deliberately to add coolness.


Die ganzen ... just means alle or all die.

As others pointed out, it is better to import the construct only into your passive language, and to avoid it in active language. It can be ambiguous if there are broken exemplars or parts, as splattne's teacher pointed out in the 80ies. :)

  • When I went to school (admittedly a long time ago) my German teacher told us that it's not correct. Because e. g. "Nimm die ganzen Äpfel!" means that you should get the apples which are "ganz", not pieces. But maybe it has changed since the 1980s? – splattne Jul 19 '11 at 13:44
  • I would say that it isn't clear without ambiguity, in the case there are broken apples. But a) often it is not ambigous ("Sieh nach in Deinen ganzen Wörterbüchern!") and b) do we have ambigious constructs often in the language ("Er sah das Mädchen mit dem Fernglas"), so this isn't a proof. The example, the teacher gives, shows at least, that the phrase is widely used. But your teacher is right, if he suggests to use àlle, which is better. – user unknown Jul 19 '11 at 13:54
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    @user_unknown this was just an example. Let me make my point clear: <grammar_nazi_mode>*die ganze Mannschaft* = correct, but the colloquially derived die ganzen Spieler IMHO not</grammar_nazi_mode> :) – splattne Jul 19 '11 at 14:09
  • I agree, but it is used - hence my update to passive language. It would be nice to have all classical literatur browsable to see, whether Goethe, Schiller, Kraus or Bernhard used 'die ganzen Wörter' or something like that. – user unknown Jul 19 '11 at 14:35

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