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 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.

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
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?”

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
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?”

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
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?”

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
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.

Example:
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wo wir uns verabredet hatten.Therefore, our friends didn’t wait for us, where we had arranged to meet.
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
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

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

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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