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Adverbs in German

An adverb is a part of a sentence which usually answers questions such as when? How?, Where?, how much? and how often?  The good news is that German adverbs do not have to be declined, as opposed to adjectives. Thus, from a grammatical point of view, German adverbs are much easier to command.

An important part of German adverbs expresses time and place. We’ll start with reviewing these adverbs as first. Another important class of adverbs is modal adverbs and those adverbs which are used with dative objects. They are also treated in this lesson further below.

Temporal Adverbs

Temporal adverbs answers the questions when, since when, until when, how often?

Important adverbs of time are:

heute (today), jetzt (now), nun (now), gerade (just), sofort (immediately), gegenwärtig (at present), heutzutage (nowadays), gestern (yesterday), vorgestern (the day before yesterday), bereits (already), morgen (tomorrow), übermorgen (the day after tomorrow), bald (soon), demnächst (soon), nächstens (soon), künftig (in future), nachher (afterwards), danach (afterwards), seither (since then), vorher (previously), damals (at that time), anfangs (at first), spatter (later), wieder (again), oft (often), oftmals (oftentimes), häufig (often), mehrmals (several times), immer (always), immerzu (all the time), ewig (for ages), erst (not until), zuerst (first), zuletzt (lastly), endlich (fintely), nie (never), niemals (never), morgens (in the mornings), vormittags (in the mornings), nachmittags (in the afternoon), dann (then), früh (early), manchmal (sometimes), noch (still), nun (now), schon (already), selton (seldom), eben (just), soeben (just now), vorhin ( a short while ago), früher (earlier), neulich (recently), kürzlich (lately), inzwischen (in the meantime), unterdessen (meanwhile), einst (once), einmal (once), ehemals (formerly), jemals (ever), mittags (in the afternoons afternoons), abends (in the evenings), nachts(at nights).

Adverbs of place

Adverbs of place answers the questions where, to where and from where?

Important adverbs of place are:

da (here, there), dort (there), hier (here), außen (outside), draußen (outdoors), drinnen (inside), drüben (over here) , innen (inside), oben (on top), unten (down), mitten (in the middle), vorn (in front), hinten (behind), links (on the left), rechts (on the right), hinaus (out), entlang (along), heraus (out here), hinein (in), aufwärts (upwards), abwärts (downwards), vorwärts (forwards), rückwärts (backwards), seitwärts (sideways), daher (from there), dorther (there), überall (everywhere), nirgends (nowhere), weit (far)



Adjectives used as adverbs

Some adjectives can be used as adverbs as well. For example;

  • es geht mir gut (I am fine)

Here, “gut” is used as a modal adverb. When the adjectives are used in this way, they’re not declined.

Modal Adverbs

Modal adverbs are used to strengthen the meaning.

Examples of such adverbs are

wahrscheinlich (likely), sicher (surely), bestimmt (certainly), allerdings (however), natürlich (of course), gewiss (certainly), tatsächlich (really), absichtlich (intentionally), unbedingt (really), gar nicht (not at all), überhaupt nicht (not at all), keineswegs (no way), keinesfalls (no way), vergebens (in vain), umsonst (in vain), sehr (very), besonders (especially), außerordentlich (extraordinarily), ungewöhnlich (unusual), fast (almost), kaum (hardly), beinahe (almost), ganz (quite), recht (quite), einigermaßen (rather), ziemlich (pretty), vielleicht (perhaps), versehentlich (by mistake), vermutlich (presumably), möglicherweise (possibly).

Some modal adverbs are built by adding –halber, -er, -weise, and –falls.


Normalerweise (normally), umständehalber (due to circumstances), bestenfalls (at best), vorsichtshalber (as a precaution), dummerweise (foolishly), glücklicherweise (luckily)

Adverbs used with dative objects

Some adverbs are used together with dative objects not with prepositions. For example:

Er ist seiner Mutter böse (he’s angry with his mother)

In the sentence above, the adverb “böse”, which means angry, is used with a dative object (seiner Mutter), no preposition is required. There are many adverbs used like this. In the vocabulary section below, you may find a list of them.



List of essential adverbs used with dative object

Ähnlich (similarly), gleichgültig angemessen (appropriately), behilflich (helpful), bewusst (consciously), böse (badly), zuwider (contrary)entsprechend (accordingly), gelegen (immediately), nahe (close), gleichgültig (irrespective), treu (loyally), überlegen (in superior manner), vergleichbar (comparably), zugetan (affectionately).