There have been a few posts (here and here) to explain that the meaning of alles along with was or wer is to emphasize a large group of people or things - all the things, who all etc.

What are the rules determining the position of alles?

I have tried to form some rules around how to use alles based on the following examples:

W- Questions

  1. Wer kommt denn alles?
  2. Was macht Sylvie alles?
  3. Was denn noch alles?
  4. Was hast du dort alles gekauft?

Possible rules:
alles goes at the end of the question – Example (1), (2) and (3), or before the participle – Example (4)


  1. Der Ausstellungsbereich zeigt, was und wen es alles braucht(e), damit man überhaupt telefonieren kann.
  2. Hasslnüsse, Walnüsse, Mandeln, Orangen, Honig, Marzipan und was sonst noch alles zum beliebten Lebkuchen gehört.
  3. Eigentlich gar nicht so langweilig hier, denn wen man hier alles trifft!

Possible rules:

  1. was sonst noch alles” is a set phrase for “whatever else” – Example (6)
  2. alles goes before the conjugated verb – Example (5) and (7)
  • 3
    What exactly is the question? Nobody will be able to answer if you don't ask any question. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 17:20
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    I find the question understandable: What are the rules determining the position of alles? For instance, Wer kommt alles denn? sounds pretty bad, while denn wen man alles hier trifft! seems fine.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 17:27
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    @DavidVogt Many thanks, your summary is exactly what I wanted to know. I have updated my post as such. Thanks again. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 18:41
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    @HubertSchölnast Thanks for the comment! I have explicitly added the question that I need help with. Many thanks! Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 18:43
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    Just a few hints, not an answer: In a more general way, you might want to ask the position of elements like sonst noch (so), überhaupt, noch, außerdem, eigentlich, …, referring to interrogatives used in questions or relative clauses (even Wo in Deutschland spricht man das ‘r’ überall gerollt aus? or: Wo sind die Leute alle hin? have an analogue structure). As you see in the set of interchangeable elements, alles works like a modal particle (Abtönungspartikel) and has a quantifying aspect. ... Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


Your question is quite broad, for now I will try to answer it for W-sentences.

  1. "Alles" can go behind the question word (or question word group), if it is emphasized:

"[Was] alles hast du gekauft?

  1. If not put behind the question word, "alles" usually has the sentence position before preposition groups and past participles:

Was hast du heute denn noch alles [im Supermarkt] [gekauft]?

Rule 2 is only a rule of thumb. Unfortunately, there are a lot of possible positions that are difficult to generalize. For example, adverbs may be moved behind "alles" (here "noch").

Was hast du heute denn alles [noch] [im Supermarkt] [gekauft]?

The problem is, not all of these positionings are grammatically sound. To be sure the sentence is correct, you should stick to rule 2.

Also note that the preposition group can be moved forward.

Was hast du heute [im Supermarkt] denn noch alles [gekauft]?

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