I'm studying German modal particles, among them "nicht", which is often used with "alles".
This is the example given by my book:

Was nennt man nicht alles Computer!

But I'm not sure what is the general usage of "nicht (alles)" as a modal particle, nor do I understand the meaning of this particular sentence. Can anybody help please?

  • This is an idiom specific to German, with no literal equivalent. "Was tue ich nicht alles für sie!" == "The things I do for this woman!" Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


Well, I think I can't translate the sentence word by word, but the meaning should be possible. "Was nennt man nicht alles Computer!" means something like "How many things do you call computer, but they aren't really".

Other examples would be (I don't know if this is grammatically correct in English):

What doesn't one do for ...
What wouldn't I(you/he/she ...) do for ...

In German:

Was macht man nicht alles ...

I think there isn't an English translation, because German has a lot of modal particles as opposed to other languages.

  • On a side note: Though German modal particles usually cannot easily be translated, a good translation never, really never, is supposed to be verbatim. If it happen to be verbatim, good for you. But in general you translate the meaning of a sentence, not the words.
    – Em1
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:24

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