All talk no walk - Al or Hel and when to use them

Both Al and Hel work with each other and in some cases are interchangeable.

Al (alt, alle)

Use Al when talking about things which CANNOT be divided into smaller parts (non-countables) such as: vand eller suppe (water or soup). You can also use it when talking about nouns such as hjemmearbejde (homework).

Even though I could divide my homework and finish parts at different times, my homework is still my homework, and an entire entity.

  • Der var overhovedet ikke noget tilbage, han havde spist al suppen (There was absolutely nothing left, he had ate all the soup).

  • Hun har prøvet alt for at blive bedre til dansk (She has tried everything to become better at Danish)

The t-form alt comes when talking about nouns which are intetkøn (neuter noun): et hus, et glas or et bord.

  • Jeg laver alt mit hjemmearbejde i morgen (I will do all my homework tomorrow)

Alle is the plural form.

  • Jeg spiste alle dine småkager (I ate all your cookies).


Alle mulige steder (ting, former, måder) (All possible places - things, forms, ways)

  • Jeg har ledt efter hende alle mulige steder på båden (I’ve looked for her in all possible places on the boat)

Alt muligt (Everything possible)

  • Jeg har prøvet alt muligt for at få hende til at komme hjem (I have tried everything possible to get her to come home).

Hel (helt, hele)

On the other hand, hel is used for countables/things you can divide.

  • En hel lasagne er lidt for meget at spise på en gang (An entire lasagne is a little too much to eat in one go)

  • Hvorfor kan du ikke spise en hel banan? (Why can’t you eat an entire banana?)

  • Han tager hele formuen, 300,000 kr, til sig selv. (He is taking the entire fortune, 300,000 kr. for himself.

Hel can also be used to express a large amount of something.

  • Han drak en hel masse øl (he drank a huge amount of beer)

The t-form is again used with intetkøn nouns (neuter nouns).

  • Jeg drikker altid et helt glas øl inden jeg starter (I always drink an entire glass of beer before I start)

It is also used like the word ‘totally.’

  • Du har helt misforstået mig (you have totally misunderstood me)

  • Det var helt hans egen skyld (It was totally his own fault)

Finally we have hele for when referring to something that contains numerous elements such as time or the places.

  • Hele landet (all the country)

  • Hele tiden (all the time)


At have det hele i munden (lit. to have everything in the mouth)

At kun snakke om noget i stedet for at handle (All words no action)

  • Det er muligt, at han har en masse ideer, men han har bare det hele i munden (it may be that he has a lot of ideas, but it’s all talk)

At grine hele vejen hen/ned til banken (to grin all the way to the bank)

Når man har snydt nogen (When one has cheated someone).

  • Da han havde afsluttet handlen, grinede han hele vejen ned til banken. (When he had sealed the deal, he laughed all the way down to the bank).

Whatever he sold, he obviously got a good price.

Tak for nu.

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