Types of Adverbs

Introduction

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.

Example

Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert. Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns, was wir gut verstanden. Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne. Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.

Als das Konzert anfing, begannen die Fans, laut zu kreischen. Man verstand kaum ein Wort, worüber ich mich ärgerte. Aber die Besucher des Konzerts waren größtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise umfielen. Somit lichteten sich die Reihen und wir standen bald bei unseren Freunden.

Zeichnung

Locative Adverbs

Locative adverbs can be the answer to the questions “Where/Where … to/Where … from?”

Example:
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.When we arrived, our friends were standing at the front near the stage.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.But the crowd was so thick there that Rolf and I stayed standing at the back.

Some important locative adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
aufwärtsupwards
außenoutside
dahere/there
dortthere/over there
drinneninside
fortaway
hierhere
hierhinup to here
hineininto
hintenbehind
irgendwosomewhere
linksleft (of)
nebenannear
oberhalbabove
überalleverywhere
untenbelow
vornin front

Temporal Adverbs

Temporal adverbs are the answer to the questions “When/How long/How often/Until when/Since when?”

Example:
Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert.Yesterday I was at a rock concert with some friends.
Aber die Besucher fielen bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise um.But the audience immediately fell down, row after row, during the first song.

Some important temporal adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
baldsoon
bereitsalready
bisheruntil now
danachthereafter
davorbeforehand
einstonce
endlicheventually/finally
freitagson Fridays
gesternyesterday
immeralways
inzwischenmeanwhile
neulichrecently/lately
nienever
oftoften
regelmäßigregularly
sofortimmediately
stetsconstantly
täglichdaily
vorhinearlier
zurzeitat the time

Modal Adverbs

Modal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How/How much?”

Example:
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.When we arrived, our friends were standing all the way at the front near the stage.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort.You could hardly hear a word.
Die Besucher des Konzerts waren größtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise umfielen.The audience was mostly young girls, who immediately fell down, row after row, during the first song.

Some important modal adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
andersdifferent
äußerstextremely
beinahenearly
bekanntlichfamously
ebenfallslikewise
fastalmost
folgendermaßenas follows
ganzcompletely
genausoexactly like
genugenough
gerngladly
größtenteilsmostly
hauptsächlichmainly
hoffentlichhopefully
kaumhardly
leiderunfortunately
möglicherweisepossibly
reihenweiserow after row, by the dozen
sehrvery
soso/thus/in that way
vergeblichin vain
vielleichtperhaps
wirklichtruly/really

Causal Adverbs

Causal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How so/For what reason/Why/Under what condition?”

Example:
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.Therefore our friends didn’t wait for us.
Darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.Because of that, Rolf and I stayed standing at the back.
Somit lichteten sich die Reihen.And with that, the crowd thinned out.

Some important causal adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
alsoso, therefore
anstandshalberfor decency’s sake
dadurchthrough that/because of that
darumtherefore/because of that
demnachthus/according to that
demzufolgewhereby/accordingly
deshalbtherefore
folglichconsequently
nämlichnamely/because
sicherheitshalberpreventatively
somitthus/therefore
trotzdemdespite that

Relative Adverbs

We use relative adverbs in relative clauses. Relative adverbs usually refer to part of a sentence.

Example:
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns, was wir gut verstanden.Therefore, our friends didn’t wait for us, which we of course understood.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort, worüber ich mich ärgerte.You could hardly hear a word, which annoyed me.

Some relative adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
waswhich
wowhere
womitwith which
wofürfor which
worüberabout 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

Example:
Dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.The crowd was really thick there, so Rolf and I stayed standing at the back.

Some conjunctional adverbs are, for example:

GermanEnglish
außerdembesides
danachthereafter
deshalbtherefore
folglichconsequently
schließlichfinally
trotzdemdespite that
zuvorpreviously

Conjunctional adverbs can never be made comparative.

(see also Sentences with Conjunctions)

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.

Example:
Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.Rolf and I came later. Therefore, our friends didn’t wait for us.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.But the crowd was thick there, so Rolf and I stayed standing at the back.

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.

Example:
Rolf und ich kamen später, deshalb warteten unsere Freunde nicht auf uns.Rolf and I came later, and therefore our friends didn’t wait for us.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.But the crowd was thick there, so Rolf and I stayed standing at the back.

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