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How can we express "who all" in german?

"Wer alle..."?

For example - group of more people vising you at your house, and you want to offer some drink. And you want to emphasize that you need a "complete list now", since you don't want to go for the drink again and again for each of them. "Who all want to drink wine?"

Or: "Which all students knew about the fraud?" - again, you want to identify really all of them.

Analogously - what to use if it is not about people, but non-human subjects? "Which all tasks are really needed to be done?". We don't ask generally about tasks. We want to emphasize that we need a complete list of all the tasks now... to be able to plan the work etc.

"Welcher alle Aufgaben ... ?" - sounds not very good to me:)

Many thanks for any ideas!

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  • I don't know about the German, but the English "Which all ..." sounds odd to me, Of course English has its regional varieties, so maybe it would sound more natural to other people.
    – RDBury
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 20:53

2 Answers 2

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In German, this is expressed with the word alles, which, other that all in English, is placed after the finite verb:

Wer möchte alles einen Kaffee? (Who all would like a coffee?)
Welche Schüler wussten alle(s) von dem Betrug? (Which all students knew about the fraud?)
Welche Aufgaben müssen alle(s) übernommen werden? (Which all tasks have to be taken on?)
Was wollen wir alles mit auf die Reise nehmen?
Was für Bücher hast du denn alles gekauft?

In a Nebensatz, this would be:

Frag bitte die Gäste, wer alles einen Kaffee möchte.
Ich frage mich, welche Schüler alle(s) Bescheid wussten?

This works for both persons and things.

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  • I'd phrase the second example as "Welche Schüler wussten alle von dem Betrug?". Using "alles" is correct in the other two examples, but in the second one it feels off to me. Phrased like this, it reads more like "Which students knew everything about the fraud?". Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 16:38
  • @HenningKockerbeck: Interesting. To me, "alle" and "alles" both sound correct in the second and third example. I would have to look up the rules on when "alle" can/should be used.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 16:44
  • I agree that the second example is ambiguous. It can be understood as 1. "Which all students knew about the fraud?" or 2. "Which students knew everything abou the fraud?". Using "alle" instead of "alles" would not allow the 2nd variant.
    – Bodo
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 16:57
  • Welche Studenten wussten alles vom Betrug = which students knew everything about the fraud. Welche Studenten wussten alle vom Betrug = which all students knew of the fraud?. In the third example it should be 'alle' when referring to 'Aufgaben': es heißt 'Alle Aufgaben sind gelöst.' und nicht 'Alles Aufgaben sind gelöst'. Usually the declined form used as numeric adjective should match the noun it refers to. Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 23:01
  • Who would say "wusste alles von dem Betrug" to mean "knew everything about the fraud"? That would be "alles über den Betrug". @planetmaker I'm not sure about this being a declined form of a numeric adjective. I don't understand it as such. Other numeric adjectives cannot be used in that place.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 23:20
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Put the question word at the topic position in front, and alles at the default position of the item you ask for:

Wer singt alles den Erwachsenen Weinnachtslieder vor? — subject

Was singt der Kinderchor den Erwachsenen alles vor? — accusative object

Wem singt der Kinderchor alles Weinnachtslieder vor? — dative object

As an alternative, you can also move alles into the topic:

Wer alles singt den Erwachsenen Weinnachtslieder vor? — subject

Was alles singt der Kinderchor den Erwachsenen vor? — accusative object

Wem alles singt der Kinderchor Weinnachtslieder vor? — dative object

But go with alles in the Hauptfeld unless you want that much emphasis. Also, your second example works a bit different:

Welche Schüler wussten alles von dem Betrug?

Welche Kinder singen alles den Erwachsenen Weinnachtslieder vor?

Welche Lieder singen die Kinder den Erwachsenen alles vor?

Welchen Leuten singen die Kinder alles Weinnachtslieder vor?

You can't move alles into the topic here because welche does not accept that pronoun as it's partner for semantic reasons. It wants a noun that describes the group to pick from.

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