Learn Your German Adverbs

Let's talk about 'Adverbien'

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Similar to English, German adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. They are used to indicate a place, time, cause, and manner, and they can be found in various parts of a sentence.

Where to Find German Adverbs

Here is where you might find an adverb in a German sentence:

Before or after verbs

Ich lese gern. (I like reading.)

Das habe ich hierhin gestellt. (I put that here.)

Before or after nouns

Der Mann da, der guckt dich immer an. (The man over there is always looking at you.)

Ich habe drüben am Ufer ein Boot. (I have a boat over there by the shore.)

Before or after adjectives

Diese Frau ist sehr hübsch. (This woman is very pretty.)

Ich bin in spätestens drei Wochen zurück. (I'll be back in three weeks at the latest.)

German Adverbs Can Act Like Conjunctions

Adverbs can also sometimes function as conjunctions. For example: 

Ich habe letzte Nacht überhaupt nicht geschlafen, deshalb bin ich müde. (I didn’t sleep at all last night, that’s why I’m so tired.)

German Adverbs Can Modify a Sentence

Adverbs can also change a sentence. Specifically, question adverbs (Frageadverbien) can modify a phrase or a sentence. For example: 

Worüber denkst du? (What are you thinking about?)

The very best thing about German adverbs is that they are never declined. (Did we just hear a sigh of relief?) Furthermore, adverbs can be created from nouns, prepositions, verbs, and adjectives:

Creating Adverbs in German

Here are some ways you can make adverbs in German: 

Adverbs plus prepositions: When combining prepositions with the adverbs wo(r), da(r) or hier, you get prepositional adverbs, such as worauf (on where), davor (before that) and hierum (around here).

Verbs as adverbs: Past particles of verbs can stand in as adverbs and without modification. Read more here: Past Participles as Adverbs.  

When an adjective is an adverb: Predicate adjectives will function as adverbs when placed after a conjugated verb and you do not need to make any changes to the predicate adjective. Unlike English, Germans do not make a distinction in form between a predicate adjective and an adverb. See Adverbs of Manner and Degree. 

Types of Adverbs in German

Adverbs are divided into four main groups:

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of Manner and Degree

Adverbs Indicating Cause