I am now watching a German learning programme by DW. At 1:13 there is a line:

Ich habe alle wichtigen Formulare ausgefüllt

According to my understanding, this belongs to the “adjective endings after no article – plural” case, so it should be wichtige instead of wichtigen. Where have I gone wrong?

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    Wen oder was habe ich aus gefüllt? Alle wichtigen Formulare! Das Formular - sächlich de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Flexion:wichtig – Bernhard Döbler Oct 7 '19 at 21:47
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    The word alle is a definite determiner as die. – Janka Oct 7 '19 at 21:52
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    Here is the declension table thats gonna help you with this and many other questions :) germanveryeasy.com/adjective-declension keywords: German adjective declension – Dan Oct 7 '19 at 23:54
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    Any reason for reopening a "conjugation table" question? – Dan Oct 9 '19 at 3:44
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    @Dan It's not a "conjugation table" question. OP's question comes from not understanding that alle is a determiner like die. It's got a good answer explaining this. – PiedPiper Oct 9 '19 at 13:16

"alle" is a determiner, like an article "die".

"alle _ Formulare" is akkusativ (contrast dativ: "allen"). The word at the second position, "wichtig-", inflects differently. I cannot quite explain why. One notable difference is that a bare "wichtige Formulare" would be indefinite, as would be colloquial "wenige falsche Freunde", properly "wenige der wichtigen Fragen". Compare e.g. Fr "toutes des questiones signifiques", En "all the important questions" vs "toutes question", "all questions". Whereas "?Alle der Fragen" would be less likely and poor style, though "all' die [diese] Fragen" is not rare.

Consequently, "alle wichtigen Fragen" is equivalent to "alle der wichtigen Fragen" in a certain context. alle should index it as quantifier; They call it "pronoun", same difference.


Ich habe alle wichtigen Formulare ausgefüllt.

As you already figured out, the adjective wichtig should be plural, to be precise: accusive plural just like the noun Formulare. Now, we only need to decide, whether it should be declined strongly (wichtige) or weakly (wichtigen).

Strong declension (S) appears when there is no article or other word declined like an adjective. Weak declension (W) appears in connection with a definite article. For instance:

  • Ich habe alle(S) Formulare ausgefüllt.
  • Ich habe wichtige(S) Formulare ausgefüllt.
  • Ich habe die wichtigen(W) Formulare ausgefüllt.

(Notice that alles does not occur in a weakly declined form, which is why a corresponding example wouldn't make sense.)

There is also a third type, mixed declension, which appears when there is yet another adjective, or a word that is declined like an adjective, such as the indefinite pronoun alles. In our example, alles is declined strongly whereas wichtig is declined weakly:

Ich habe alle(S) wichtigen(W) Formulare ausgefüllt.

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