I wrote: Es soll gewährleistet werden, dass sämtliche Dokumente [...] zur Verfügung stehen.

Sämtliche was corrected to alle. What is the difference in meaning?

  • 1
    Who corrected that? In what context / for whom is the text?
    – mtwde
    Dec 30, 2020 at 15:02
  • Not all changes are corrections. (Not every change is a correction.)
    – David Vogt
    Dec 30, 2020 at 15:13
  • @mtwde The text was corrected/changed by a native speaker correcting and commenting the text. The text is in the context of a process description. I wanted to write that all documents [that meet some criteria] should be available.
    – zsirli
    Dec 30, 2020 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


Both words mean almost the same thing. However, "sämtlich" emphasizes that everything is clearly meant.

Duden says

nachdrücklich für all (emphatically for all)


ausnahmslos alle (without exception all)

Why was it changed when you really meant "each and every document"? Probably because the difference is marginal and "sämtliche" could be seen as sublime language. Or he/she did not know better ^^. Both words are fine.

  • While I don't think the words are interchangeable, I'm not convinced the difference is that simple. For example (from the subtitles to "Mad Men" via DWDS) In einem Jahr haben wir 81% sämtlicher Regenmäntel in den USA verkauft. I don't think it works to translate this as "In one year we sold 81% of every one of the raincoats in the US."
    – RDBury
    Dec 31, 2020 at 1:12

I am afraid the difference is oversimplified language. The meaning is the same. Or maybe someone likes to "correct" your texts.

  • 1
    I agree that the basic meaning is the same, but the connotations are different: "Sämtliche Dokumente" to me has a stronger sense of "every last document, and don't you leave out a single one" than a more general "alle Dokumente". Dec 30, 2020 at 16:12
  • @HenningKockerbeck And what makes you think you could leave out one or another document, when it says alle?
    – Olafant
    Dec 30, 2020 at 16:18
  • 1
    It just feels to me that the consequences (and probably the repercussions) would be more severe, more of an implied "or else". "Sämtliche Dokumente" could be out of a court order, "Dem Beklagten wird aufgegeben, dem Kläger sämtliche Dokumente zugänglich zu machen". On the other hand, "alle Dokumente" feels more general, more permissible to "bring' mal alle Dokumente, die Du so findest" than "sämtliche" would be. But, as I said, this doesn't change the basic meaning. Dec 30, 2020 at 17:08

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