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.
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.)
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.)
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:
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.
Adverbs are divided into four main groups:
- Manner and Degree
- Indicating Cause