Here is an excerpt from my German grammar book on the usage of the adjective "ganz" enter image description here

I have a couple of clarifications to make. First, why is "ganze" used in Nominativ and not "ganz"? Second, why is it "den ganzen Tag" and not "der ganze Tag"? Would appreciate any help!

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    Your title doesn't match your question. Are you asking about the declination of "ganz", why "ganz" is used instead of "alle", or both? Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


That's all just the declination of "ganz". It is declined like an adjective.

See e.g. the entry for "ganze" in Wiktionary: here it is used because "Familie" is a feminine noun (die Familie), and "die ganze Familie" is in nominative in the example.

The example "den ganzen Tag" is in accusative because that is what is used in a German sentence when describing a time span adverbially. The accusative makes clear that "den ganzen Tag" is not the subject of the sentence, but denotes the time span of the action.

Die Kinder spielten den ganzen Tag (lang) im Garten.
The kids played in the garden all day (long).

As a subject, it would be different in both German and English:

Der ganze Tag war sonnig und warm.
The whole day was sunny and warm.


In the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th line, "ganz" is an adjective like any other, so takes the same endings as any other adjective.

Before a proper noun referring to a location without an article, you use "ganz" undeclined, that is what is happening in the 4th example.

For "den ganzen" vs. "der ganze", the explanation given in this answer is correct.

Difference between "ganz" and "alle": "ganz" = entire, all of, all parts of the thing that follows; "alle" = all, all elements of the grouping that follows.

  • Die ganze Familie kommt. = The entire family is coming.
  • Alle Familien kommen. = All families are coming.

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