In a children's book, I read the following sentence:

Die Kinder sitzen alle schon in ihren Bänken.

I understand the sentence as "All the children are already sitting on their benches".

The position of alle after the verb is something I have not seen before. I would have expected to see "Alle Kinder" or just "Die Kinder". Or does alle have some special meaning in this arrangement?

  • 1
    A very similar structure exists in ENglish. "They are all sitting ..."
    – Emanuel
    Mar 2, 2015 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


No it does not have a special meaning. It is used in this construct to emphasise that ALL children have taken their place already


Let me illustrate possible locations of alle in another similar example:

Die Kinder trinken ihre Limonade.

Now when putting emphasis on the fact that it was all children we may say:

  1. Alle Kinder trinken ihre Limonade.

or to shift the emphasis on all were drinking:

  1. Die Kinder trinken alle ihre Limonade.

However now it becomes unclear if it were all the children, or if all their lemonade was drunk.

  1. Die Kinder trinken alle ihre Limonade.

To clarify that the emphasis was on the lemonade we may better use all instead:

  1. Die Kinder trinken all ihre Limonade.

Do not get confused by another colloquial use of alle in the meaning of completely:

  1. Die Kinder trinken ihre Limonade alle.

This would mean The children are drinking up their lemonade.

Grammatically we could even create a tongue twister and say:

  1. Alle Kinder trinken alle all(e) ihre Limonade alle.
  • Why is this not the accepted answer?
    – Liglo App
    Mar 3, 2015 at 10:33
  • @BarthZalewski. I only completed the existing accepted and correct answer with some examples... (an edit to the existing answer would probably have been too radical).
    – Takkat
    Mar 3, 2015 at 11:34

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