1

I often read sentences, also in newspapers, that contain the word order “alle sind sie” instead of “sie sind alle” or simply “alle sind” (without the sie). I just found a random example here:

Und alle sind sie Präsident

Can someone confirm my intuition that this is wrong German grammar? It sounds so wrong to me. Shouldn’t it be be one of the following:

Alle sind Präsident.
Sie sind alle Präsident.

If it is indeed correct to say “alle sind sie Präsident”, then what’s the purpose of the sie in the sentence? Following the same logic, it would also be correct to say the following:

Ich bin ich Präsident.

  • 1
    The rephrased question does not seem to be connected to tag word-order, neither the headline matches any longer. – guidot Sep 4 '16 at 20:45
  • The chancellor gets a list of people he'll meet in the next minutes. He looks at their titles and noticies, that everyone of them is a president of a company or organization. So he says "And all are president".. Long form is "And all of them are president of something". – ott-- Sep 4 '16 at 21:25
  • @ott--. Do German companies have "presidents"? – fdb Sep 5 '16 at 9:48
  • @fdb Only the foreign ones that have german dependancy. I guess they were all president of an organization then. – ott-- Sep 5 '16 at 19:30
5

It's perfectly fine to say "sie alle", this is different both from just "sie" and just "alle". English does the same ("they all are president"), which is also different from just "they" and just "all". Grammatically this is an apposition.

However, German is more flexible in word order, so you have the option of disentangling the parts of the apposition. As the verb must be in second position, one part moves after the verb, as usual:

Sie alle sind Präsident.

Sie sind alle Präsident.

Alle sind sie Präsident.

You can do the same with "wir alle", "ich allein" etc. It's not the same as "wir wir" or "ich ich", which is nonsense because of the repitition.

  • 2
    Also allowed: »Präsident sind sie alle.« – Hubert Schölnast Sep 5 '16 at 17:49
  • I agree with all your examples, except the "Alle sind sie Präsident"... it just sounds wrong. Same in English: "they all are president" sounds good, "they are all president" sounds good, "all are they president" is just wrong (same as in German, IMHO) but if you delete the "they/sie" then it's correct again "all are president". – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 10:15
  • @dokaspar: "Alle sind sie Präsident" is perfectly fine. If it sounds wrong to you, I'd suggest to read more. Here are about 500.000 search results for "alle sind sie" in that order. – dirkt Mar 20 '17 at 10:48
  • @dirkt: and here are 500'000 search results for "we should of"... ;-) – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 11:02
  • @dokaspar: But I really doubt they appear in newspapers etc. ... – dirkt Mar 20 '17 at 11:04
2

It's just the same grammar as the English

... and all of them are president.

If you say Und alle sind sie Präsident puts both a certain emphasis on the fact that the same feature is true for all members of said group and a certain sneering tone to the entire sentence.

Example:

Wenn es um Fußball geht gibt es in Deutschland 80 Mio. Trainer und alle kennen sie die beste Strategie.

The general form

... und alle [Verb] sie [Was]

is just a way of saying: There's a group of people and every one of them is doing something.

  • Thanks, that's exactly another such example! I really don't understand what the "sie" is doing in that sentence... "alle kennen sie die beste Strategie", it just sounds awful and wrong (it should simply be "alle kennen die beste Strategie"). I really wish to see this kind of example from a high-standard grammar book/page, otherwise I will never believe this is correct German. – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 10:20
  • Well, maybe you should just believe a native speaker that this word order is perfectly fine, well understood, actively used and not frowned apon. – Thorsten Dittmar Mar 20 '17 at 11:04
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    I'm a native (Swiss) German speaker and I often come across Swiss language habits that are totally wrong but even used in newspapers and on national TV. So it's good the read all these opinions here, they make me change my opinion. – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 11:18
  • "Wrong" in what sense? They are not wrong in "Swiss German", are they? – Thorsten Dittmar Mar 20 '17 at 11:29
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    For example "ans falsche Ort" is wrong, but I hear it a lot on TV. The topic of this thread "alle sind sie" just sounded wrong to me personally, but now you convinced me that it's not. – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 11:36
-1

It's kinda a style question, because you can write :"alle sind sie Präsidenten" or "alle sind Präsidenten" (by the way i find "Sie sind alle Präsidenten" better).

And "sie" is kinda an "they", but if there isn't an "sie" it's still allright because then the subject is in "alle".

P.S.: "all sind sie" should be "alle sind sie" in german there is an all but it's used like "all das wird getan" -> "all of that will be done" but it's an grammatical error in "all sind sie"

P.P.S.: "ich bin ich Präsident" -> "i am i präsident" if it's a question ok but it isn't "ich bin präsident"

hope i could help and my english was readable

  • 2
    If you wrote it in German we MIGHT understand what you are saying. – fdb Sep 5 '16 at 9:45
  • Directly translated to English "alle sind sie Präsident" would be "all are they president", which clearly sounds wrong, too. – dokaspar Mar 20 '17 at 10:22

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