In the course book DaF kompakt A1, I found the sentence:

Was macht Sylvie alles?

I can understand question without the word alles:

What does Sylvie do?

But the word alles confuses me.

2 Answers 2


The word »alles« means »everything«. You are asked to tell everything that Sylvie does. You are not asked what Sylvie is doing in a special situation, or at a special moment. You are asked what Sylvie does generally. In her whole live, all day long.

The word »alles« is used in similar Questions:

Was können Sie alles?

Here you are encouraged to tell all of your skills.
Another example:

Wen kennst du alles?

Here the questioner wants to hear a complete list of all people you know.

  • I pretty much believe that this German expression "alles" is implicated in the word "does". "What does she do?" already has an in-generall, in all character in the english language, does it not?
    – Alex
    Mar 25, 2015 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Alex: Maybe you are right (I really don't know, because my english-skills are too weak), but here we are not talking about the meaning of english words. This board is about German language. It is neither a translation-board nor a board about other languages. Mar 25, 2015 at 13:50
  • 2
    I know Hubert, I rather thought one could find it useful to have this comparison, to know that in German you can find the word "alles" in this coherence.
    – Alex
    Mar 25, 2015 at 17:24

To add to Hubert's excellent answer, "alles" in this context can be translated as "in all," (rather than simply "all").

So "Was macht Sylvie alles?" would translate as, "What does Sylvie do in all?

And as Hubert pointed out, the meaning would be "everything."

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