I was asked when to use beide and when to use beides as well as alle vs. alles.

Here are two examples:

Tee oder Kaffee? Ich mag beide Getränke. Egal, ich trinke beides.

Ich habe alle Übungen gemacht. Ich habe alles gemacht.

I think the reason is that in the first example the words are adjectives and in the second sentence they are adverbs, but I’m not sure.


2 Answers 2


The first case in your examples uses the pronoun attributively, i.e. it inflects like an adjective. That means that you have no choice: it has to be "beide Getränke", because that's what the inflection rules say.

The second case uses substituting pronouns. You can use "beides" because that's the most general form, which can substitute for everything, whether masculine, feminine or neuter. But you can also parse it as a (very common) elliptical construction: "beide" is understood as short for "beide (Getränke)" if that term was used previously, and that's why "beide" is also correct in the second case.


That's not very difficult:

alle = all

alles = everything

Same goes with beide. In English there is only one word for that: both, but in German you can transfer the rule.

However, you could use alle and beide without a noun, if the context is clear (then it's an ellipis):

Welche Getränke trinkst du? - Ich trinke beide. (=Ich trinke beide [Getränke])

Hast du die Hausaufgaben? - Ja, ich habe alle gemacht. (=alle [Hausaufgaben]).

If you still have difficulties understanding when to use which, take a look at this discussion about viel/Vieles and wenig/Weniges

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