So there are a few ways to translate ‘after all’ into German; ‘schließlich’ meaning ‘finally’, ‘trotz’ meaning ‘in spite of’, ‘immerhin’ meaning ‘at least’ or ‘anyhow’ (among other things).

But I’m concerned with translating ‘after all’ in a figurative sort of way, when connected with quotes. In English you might quote something and then say ‘after all’, to say (I think) that the quote proves or enhances or develops a point you’ve just made.

I might say rhetorically,

But can it end well? ‘Nur die Wurst hat zwei’, after all.

Is there a parallel to this in German, something someone might say after quoting something that supports their point?

  • I'm pretty sure this corresponds to meaning 1 given in Wiktionary, so it can come at the start of a sentence and doesn't have to be associated with a quote. Wiktionary doesn't say so, but I think meanings are actually pronounced differently, with meaning 2 having a strong accent on 'af'. – RDBury Jan 17 at 7:38
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    Das Beispiel passt nicht. "Nur die Wurst hat zwei" passt auf "Alles hat ein Ende", nicht auf "Wird es gut enden?". Der Vergleich hinkt, letztlich. – user unknown Jan 17 at 15:25
  • I have some difficulties to understand this question: 1) I don't recognize a non-figurative use of after all. 2) The example is not convincing. 3) The connection to quotes is not obvious. After a quote you would at least need to accept its statement explicitly before arriving at any conclusion (what after all in my opinion implies). – guidot Jan 17 at 20:11

Quoting or not, in both cases the problem is what you already said: sometimes one expression fits better, sometimes another.

something someone might say after quoting something that supports their point

While after all can always be at the end of the sentence, that's not true for German. But to point out, that a quote supports your point, letztlich should be a good fit most of the time if you don't like to use schließlich.


There are two meanings for "after all" in English as an idiom. One (meaning 2 in Wiktionary) almost always goes at the end of the sentence and means "contrary to expectations" or "however". For example:

We thought my parents would visit us over the holidays, but there was a snow storm and they couldn't come after all.

In German you can just insert doch with the same effect:

Wir dachten, meine Eltern würden uns über die Feiertage zu besuchen, aber es gab einen Schneesturm und sie konnten doch nicht herkommen.

I think what you're talking about is the other meaning (1 in Wiktionary) of "after all", but this doesn't have to be used with a quotation and it can go before, in, or after the phrase it's referring to. For example (from Wiktionary's usage example):

Of course he won't give you credit. After all, his first and last concern is his company's profit margin.

The last part could equally well be phrased "His first and last concern is, after all, his company's profit margin," or "His first and last concern is his company's profit margin, after all."

This meaning of "after all" is usually translated as Schließlich: Schließlich ist seine erste und letzte Anliegen die Gewinnmarge seines Unternehmens.

The saying Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei, means something like "Nothing lasts forever" or "All good things must come to an end," but with a pun tacked onto the end playing on the double meaning of Ende. If you were going to shorten this for a quote then I think you'd just use the first part since the pun doesn't really mean much without it. It could be used with schließlich but it's difficult to do without changing the exact wording, so perhaps Der Urlaub ist vorbei, schließlich hat alles ein Ende. You'd have the same issue with any adverb, so if you were really concerned with preserving the exact words then I would go with a looser translation and use aber: Der Urlaub ist vorbei, aber „alles hat ein Ende.” This changes the meaning slightly but I think it still works.

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