Types of Adverbs in German Grammar

Adverb types in German grammar

We can sort German adverbs into different types: locative adverbs (Lokaladverbien), temporal adverbs (Temporaladverbien), modal adverbs (Modaladverbien), causal adverbs (Kausaladverbien), relative adverbs (Relativadverbien) and conjunctive adverbs (Konjunktionaladverbien).

Learn about the different types of adverbs in German grammar with Lingolia then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Example

Zeichnung

Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert. Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wo wir uns verabredet hatten. 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.

Locative Adverbs

Locative adverbs (also known as adverbs of place) answer the questions where? where to? or from where?

Examples:
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.

Typical adverbs of place include:

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 (also known as adverbs of time and frequency) answer the questions when? how long? how often? until when? or since when?

Examples:
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.

Typical temporal adverbs include:

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 (also known as adverbs of manner) answer the question how? how much? or to what degree?

Examples:
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.

Typical modal adverbs include:

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 present a reason; they answer the question why?

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

Typical causal adverbs include:

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 to introduce a relative clause. Relative adverbs usually refer to part of a sentence.

Examples:
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wo wir uns verabredet hatten.That’s why our friends didn’t wait for us where we’d arranged to meet.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort, worüber ich mich ärgerte.You could hardly hear a word, which annoyed me.

Typical relative adverbs include:

German English
wo where
womit with which
wofür for which
worüber about which

Conjunctive Adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs link two clauses together.

When we use a conjunctive adverb, the word order in the sentence changes; we have to place the verb before the subject: conjunctive adverb + conjugated 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.

Many causal adverbs are also conjunctive adverbs. Typical conjunctive adverbs include:

German English
außerdem besides
danach thereafter
deshalb therefore
folglich consequently
schließlich finally
trotzdem despite that
zuvor previously

Conjunctional adverbs can never be made comparative. Learn more about conjunctive adverbs in our section all about Conjunctions in German grammar.

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.