I'm learning German these days. I saw in a book that vor allem has the idiomatic meaning first of all. But to my confusion there is the example sentence

Die Leute liebten vor allen das gelbe Auto.

When should I use vor allem and when vor allen?


Later I saw in the grammar book :
For the pronoun all, when it refers to things, it's regarded as neutral, singular (so ..em) and when it refers to people it is regarded as plural (so ..en). (when they are after preposition I guess)

Einige sind mit allem einverstanden. (Some people agree with everything)

Wir haben vorher mit allen diskutiert. (We have discussed it with everyone before)

  • 3
    The example sentence is likely wrong (it is grammatically sound, but it's difficult to come up with a scenario where it would make any sense).
    – Annatar
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 12:45
  • 2
    Where did you find this? Could you give the usual bigliographic data?- I have a growing impression is that recently a lot of not-so-well-written German textbooks are on the market... Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 16:32
  • @ChristianGeiselmann it's a basic German grammar book for beginners(in Korea). I guess in the example sentence if it were vor allem, then the sentence is correct. (I mean it should be a typo of vor allem).
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 2:20
  • Your example sentence would translate to "People loved the yellow car in front of everyone else" which was probably not intended.
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


vor allem can be translated to especially, whereas vor allen can be translated into 'before everyone else' or 'in front of everyone'.

In general the word alle means all. Allem is in the third case and allem in fourth case. Allem can be used with objects and allen with people generally spoken

  • Then, Allem in 3rd case neutral, allen in 3rd case adjective for the following plural noun. Isn't is so? (for allen = for allen Anderen or leute.)
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 15:41

The meaning is slightly different whether you use "vor allen" or "vor allem". The following examples may help:

Er war erster, er kam vor allen anderen ins Ziel.
Das lag vor allem daran, dass er der schnellste war.

You see that in the second sentence the reason is more or less unspecific. He was the first, because of several reasons, but "vor allem", because he was the fastest. You may extend the sentence as follows:

Das lag vor allem anderen daran, dass ...
Das lag hauptsächlich daran, dass ...
Das lag vor allen Dingen daran, dass ...
Das lag vor allen anderen Dingen daran, dass ...
Das lag vor allem, was es gibt, daran, dass ...

Indeed, the comment of The_javascript_King is right. Your example is rather unusual, especially in combination with "Leute".

  • 1
    Now I take, in your first sentence it's allen (-en) because it's 3rd case(after preposition vor) before pluran(anderen). and vor allem is the idiom and allem is a noun. Isn't it correct?
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 2:23
  • @ChanKim vor allem is not an idiom here. It's grammatically correct. Vor allen would mean something totally different, and is almost certainly a mistake
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 11:53
  • I was more curious about the grammar explanation and now find Java king's explanation is more releavant. :)
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 15:23
  • I added some imfo to my question.
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 15:41

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