German Adverbs (das Adverb)

Adverbs are words that do not change (they are not declined) and they modify the verb’s meaning, an adjective or other adverb.

       Types of adverbs

Temporal adverbs dealing with the day

Adverb Meaning
vorgestern the day before yesterday
gestern yesterday
heute today
morgen tomorrow
übermorgen the day after tomorrow

Subjective Temporal Adverbs

Adverb Meaning
damals then
früher earlier
jetzt now
sofort immediately
gleich immediately
bald soon
später later
dann after/then

Temporal adverb gerade

The adverb gerade is used to make the present continuous in German:

Ich lese gerade die Zeitung I am reading the newspaper

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of Absolute Frequency

Adverb Meaning
immer always
fast immer almost always
meistens most of the time
häufig frequently
oft often
ab und zu once in a while
manchmal sometimes
selten rarely
fast nie almost never
nie never

Adverbs of daily frequency

Adverb Meaning
morgens in the morning
nachmittags in the afternoon
abends in the evening
nachts during the night

Adverbs of weekly frecuency

Adverb Meaning
montags on Mondays
dienstags on Tuesdays
mittwochs on Wednesdays
donnerstags on Thursdays
freitags on Fridays
samstags on Saturdays
sonntags on Sundays

Other adverbs of frequency

Adverb Meaning
täglich daily
wöchentlich weekly
monatlich monthly
jährlich yearly/annually

Forming temporal adverbs by adding an -s

Often, temporal adverbs of frequency are formed from nouns with an “–s” added on. At first, this construction creates a bit of confusion among students of German.
Noun Adverb
der Abend the evening abends in the evenings
der Halbtag half a day halbtags half-day
der Feiertag the holiday feiertags every holiday

Locative Adverbs

oben und unten

Locative adverbs of place

Adverb Meaning
vorn / vorne in front
hinten behind
links on the left
rechts on the right
oben up
unten down
innen inside
außen outside
hier here
da there
dort there
überall everywhere
nirgends nowhere
hinein Locative adverbs with the particles “hin” and “her”. The particles “hin” and “her” denote the direction of movement with respect to the person that is speaking. These particles are used often to make adverbs. Here are some examples so that you understand better:


If my child and I are outside of the house and I want to tell him to go inside (for example, to do his chores), I’d say:

Geh hinein! Go inside!



If I am outside of the house and my child is inside and I want him to come out (for example, to cut the grass), I’d say:

Komm heraus! Come outside! herein


If I am inside the house and my son is playing in the garden and I want him to come in (for example, to eat), I’d say:

Komm herein! Come inside! hinaus


If my child and I are inside the house and I want to tell him to go out (for example, to play in the garden), I’d say:

Geh hinaus! Go outside!

Locative adverbs that indicate movement

Adverb Meaning
aufwärts upwards
abwärts downwards
vorwärts forwards
rückwärts backwards
heimwärts homeward
westwärts to the west
bergauf uphill
bergab downhill

Construction of locative adverbs by adding an -s

In German, locative adverbs are also formed by adding an “–s” to nouns.
Noun Locative adverb
das Rechte right rechts to the right
die Linke left links to the left

Causal Adverbs

Causal adverbs indicate the reason or origin of an action.
Adverb Meaning
deshalb therefore
darum therefore
deswegen therefore
folglich thus/consequently
daher therefore
Causal adverbs serve as a connection between two sentences, given that they’re Konjunktionaladverbien

Ich möchte in Deutschland leben, deshalb lerne ich gerade Deutsch I would like to live in Germany, therefore I am learning German

It must be emphasized that adverbs occupy a position and by placing them at the beginning of a sentence, they move the subject to the 3rd position. Main Article: Sentence structure

Adverbs of manner

Adverb Meaning
erstens firstly
zweitens secondly
drittens thirdly
auch also
ebenfalls as well
ansonsten otherwise
außerdem in addition

Restrictive adverbs

Adverb Meaning
nur only
wenigstens at least
hingegen on the other hand

Adverbs of quantity

Adverb Meaning
sehr very
kaum hardly

gern / gerne

The adverb “gern” is used often in German and it’s equivalent is “gladly”. The construction “Ich hätte gern…” is very common in German and means “I would like to” and is used to politely order something. gern or gerne are exactly the same but gern is used more often.

Pronoun Adverbs

Pronoun adverbs are the combination of a preposition and a pronoun and are used only to refer to things (not for living things).

Adverbs “da-” + preposition

The adverbs “da-” + preposition are used very often and their translation depends greatly on the context:

Ich habe nicht daran gedacht I didn’t think about that

Adverb Meaning
daran (or dran) at it (preposition an)
darauf (or drauf) on it (preposition auf)
daraus from it (preposition aus)
dabei present (preposition bei)
dagegen against it (preposition gegen)
darin in it (preposition in)
damit with it (preposition mit)
darüber about it (preposition über)
darum therefore (preposition um)
dazu additionally (preposition zu)
The prepositions are not exactly the same in German and English and thus the translation is not exact. Check out prepositions to get the best translation in every case.

Adverbs hier + preposition

The adverbs “hier-” + preposition have practically the same meaning as adverbs da + “preposition” though they are used much less often. Their meaning depends greatly on the context.
Adverb Meaning
hieran at this (prepoition an)
hierauf on this (preposition auf)
hieraus from this (preposition aus)
hierbei with this or at this (preposition bei)
hiergegen against this (preposition gegen)
hierin in this (preposition in)
hiermit with this (preposition mit)
hierüber about this (preposition über)
hierzu for this (preposition zu)

Interrogative adverbs

Main article: Interrogative particles The most important interrogative adverbs are:
  • Wann(when)
  • Warum(why)
  • Wieso (why)
Wie (how)
  • Wie alt (how old)
  • Wie viel (how much/many)
  • Wie lange (how long)
  • Wie oft (how often)
  • Wie teuer (how expensive)
  • Wie weit (how far)
Wo (where)
  • Woran (whereof)
  • Worauf (where upon)
  • Woraus (what from)
  • Wobei (in which/ whereat)
  • Wogegen (against what)
  • Worin (wherein)
  • Womit (whereby)
  • Worüber (what about)
  • Worum (what about)
  • Wozu (what for)
  • Wohin (where to)
  • Woher (from where)

Comparative and superlative with adverbs

Some adverbs can make comparatives and superlatives like adjective. This is the case with “bald”, “gern”, “oft”, and “wohl”.
Adverb Comparative Superlative
bald soon eher sooner am ehesten soonest
gern gladly lieber preferably am liebsten most preferably
oft often öfter more often am häufigsten most often
wohl well wohler better am wohlsten best

Adjectives functioning like adverbs

In many cases, adjectives can function like adverbs:

Das Auto ist schnell [schnell as an adjective] The car is fast

Sie isst schnell [schnell as an adverb] She eats fast

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We can divide adverbs into various categories, depending on whether they provide information about place, time, reason, or manner. We call these, respectively, locative adverbs, temporal adverbs, causal adverbs, and modal adverbs. Besides these types, there are also relative adverbs and conjunctional adverbs.
Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert. Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wowir uns verabredet hatten. Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freundeganz vorn an der Bühne. Aber dortdrängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen. Als das Konzert anfing, begannen die Fans, laut zu kreischen. Man verstandkaum ein Wort, worüber ich mich ärgerte. Aber die Besucher des Konzerts waren größtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Songreihenweise umfielen. Somit lichteten sich die Reihen und wir standen baldbei unseren Freunden.

Locative Adverbs

Locative adverbs can be the answer to the questions “Where/Where … to/Where … from?”
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Some important locative adverbs are, for example:
German English
aufwärts upwards
außen outside
da here/there
dort there/over there
drinnen inside
fort away
hier here
hierhin up to here
hinein into
hinten behind
irgendwo somewhere
links left (of)
nebenan near
oberhalb above
überall everywhere
unten below
vorn in front

Temporal Adverbs

Temporal adverbs are the answer to the questions “When/How long/How often/Until when/Since when?”
Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert.
Aber die Besucher fielen bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise um.
Some important temporal adverbs are, for example:
German English
bald soon
bereits already
bisher until now
danach thereafter
davor beforehand
einst once
endlich eventually/finally
freitags on Fridays
gestern yesterday
immer always
inzwischen meanwhile
neulich recently/lately
nie never
oft often
regelmäßig regularly
sofort immediately
stets constantly
täglich daily
vorhin earlier
zurzeit at the time

Modal Adverbs

Modal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How/How much?”
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort.
Die Besucher des Konzerts warengrößtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise umfielen.
Some important modal adverbs are, for example:
German English
anders different
äußerst extremely
beinahe nearly
bekanntlich famously
ebenfalls likewise
fast almost
folgendermaßen as follows
ganz completely
genauso exactly like
genug enough
gern gladly
größtenteils mostly
hauptsächlich mainly
hoffentlich hopefully
kaum hardly
leider unfortunately
möglicherweise possibly
reihenweise row after row, by the dozen
sehr very
so so/thus/in that way
vielleicht perhaps
wirklich truly/really

Causal Adverbs

Causal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How so/For what reason/Why/Under what condition?”
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.
Darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Somit lichteten sich die Reihen.
Some important causal adverbs are, for example:
German English
also so, therefore
anstandshalber for decency’s sake
dadurch through that/because of that
darum therefore/because of that
demnach thus/according to that
demzufolge whereby/accordingly
deshalb therefore
folglich consequently
sicherheitshalber preventatively
somit thus/therefore
trotzdem despite that

Relative Adverbs

We use relative adverbs in relative clauses. Relative adverbs usually refer to part of a sentence.
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wo wir uns verabredet hatten.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort, worüberich mich ärgerte.
Some relative adverbs are, for example:
German English
wo where
womit with which
wofür for which
worüber about which

Conjunctional Adverbs

We can use some adverbs to tie clauses together. Because these adverbs serve as conjunctions, they are called conjunctional adverbs. The clause that begins with a conjunctional adverb has the following form: conjunctional adverb + finite verb + subject + rest of the clause
Dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Some conjunctional adverbs are, for example:
German English
außerdem besides
danach thereafter
deshalb therefore
folglich consequently
schließlich finally
trotzdem despite that
zuvor previously
Conjunctional adverbs can never be made comparative.

To Note

The conjunctional adverbs are the same as the causal adverbs in many cases (deshalb, daher, trotzdem, …). The difference in their categorisation depends on which meaning is more important. When we want to emphasise that an adverb gives information about a reason, we describe it as a causal adverb.
Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
If, however, we want to differentiate the type of connection between two parts of a sentence (is it a conjunction, subjunction, or a conjunctional adverb?), then we use the term conjunctional adverb.
Rolf und ich kamen später, deshalb warteten unsere Freunde nicht auf uns.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.

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