German Adverbs Overview
Adverbs are used to tell us something about a verb, adjective, or another adverb.
Adverbs can describe aspects of time, frequency, location, causation, manner, and more.
Adverbial conjunctions connect clauses or sentences and signal additional information, explanation, or contrast.
Finally understand hard-to-grasp German grammar concepts.
Adverbs of Manner
These adverbs tell us how, in which manner, or to what degree an activity is done.
Ich esse gern Eis. — I gladly eat ice cream.
Das Kind redet schnell. — The child speaks quickly.
These adverbs conjoin sentences or clauses by providing extra information, explaining, or by contrasting.
Die Konzerttickets waren leider schon ausverkauft. Wollen wir uns dennoch treffen?
Lisa geht nicht über die Straße. Stattdessen bleibt sie einfach stehen.
What is an Adverb?
Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs (The child sings loudly). Compare that with adjectives, which tell us something about a noun. (The loud child is singing).
In English, most adverbs end with -ly, but there are exceptions (The child runs fast.)
In German, there are a few descriptive words that function only as adverbs, with no adjectival equivalent.
But most descriptive words can be used as either adverbs or adjectives. In such instances, the ‘root’ form of the word is the same (schnell = fast), but the adverb will remain in this ‘root’ form while the adjective may be declined.
Das Kind läuft schnell die Straße entlang.
Das schnelle Kind läuft die Straße entlang.
Adverbs of Manner
Many adverbs that tell us how, in which manner, or to what degree an activity is done are descriptive adverbs that can also be declined and used as adjectives.
fröhlich — happily / happy
langsam — slow/ly
erstaunlich — astonishing/ly
However, some adverbs of manner, such as kaum and gern, have no adjective equivalents.
Some descriptive adverbs that convey attitude or reaction are formed by adding -erweise onto descriptive adjectives:
dummerweise — foolishly
möglicherweise — possibly
überraschenderweise — surprisingly
Similarly, we can add just -weise unto some nouns to form adverbs of manner:
fallweise — case by case
stückweise — piece by piece
teilweise — partially
Adverbs of Time
Adverbs of time tell us when or how often an activity occurs, when an activity begins, the conclusion of an activity, or establishes sequences between narratives.
bald — soon
immer — always
oft — often
auf einmal — suddenly
danach — after that
mittlerweile — meanwhile
endlich — finally
seitdem — since then
zuletzt — last
damals — back then
einmal — one time
neulich — recently
Adverbs of Place
Adverbs of place tell us where, or to or from where.
da — there
irgendwo — somewhere
oben / unten — above/below
links/rechts — left / right
Many times these adverbs can be combined with hin- and her- to indicate direction to or from.
Similarly, some adverbs of place are paired with the prepositions nach and von:
nach links / rechts — to the left/right
von linke / rechts — from the left/right
nach oben — upward
nach unten — downward
Adverbs that connect sentences or clauses don’t affect word order. Here are some examples:
daher / deswegen / deshalb — therefore, thus
dennoch — nevertheless
stattdessen — instead