A guide to German adverbs

Adjectives modify nouns, while adverbs provide additional information about verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Unlike adjectives, which change their endings depending on gender and grammatical case, adverbs are invariable — meaning that they remain unchanged regardless of how they are used in a sentence.

An overview of German adverbs

In German, there are five main types of adverbs: adverbs of manner, frequency, degree, time, and place.

Examples of adverbs used to modify verbs

Below are two diagrams depicting German phrases in which the adverb modifies the verb:

diagram of a German sentence showing an adverb which modifies a verb (translation: “He never makes grammar mistakes.”) another diagram of a German sentence showing an adverb which modifies a verb (translation: “She always talks about linguistics.”)

Remark about the direction of the arrows: These diagrams represent the syntactic structure of a sentence. The direction of the arrows goes from a head word to its dependent word.

Examples of adverbs used to modify adjectives

Here are two examples of German phrases in which the adverb modifies the adjective:

diagram of a German sentence showing an adverb which modifies an adjective (translation: “A perfectly legitimate question.”) Example of a German adverb which modifies an adjective (translation: “A really good friend.”)

Examples of adverbs used to modify other adverbs

Here is an example of a German phrase in which the adverb modifies another adverb:

diagram of a German sentence showing an adverb which modifies another adverb (translation: “He studied very gladly.”)

Adverbs of frequency

Frequency adverbs are called Häufigkeitsadverbien in German. They provide information about the frequency of actions or events. Some common German frequency adverbs include “immer” (always), “nie” (never), “oft” (often), “selten” (rarely), “manchmal” (sometimes), and “ab und zu” (now and then).

Below is a table listing the most frequently used German adverbs of frequency.

Table: list of some common German adverbs of frequency
Adverb Translation
immer always
ständig constantly
oft often
häufig frequently
üblicherweise usually
gewöhnlicherweise usually
manchmal sometimes
gelegentlich occasionally
zeitweise at times
selten rarely, seldom
keinmal not once
nie never
niemals never

Adverbs of degree

Adverbs of degree (which are called Gradadverbien in German) provide information about the degree, intensity or level of something, and they can be used with verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Some common adverbs of degree in German include “sehr” (very), “etwas” (somewhat), “ziemlich” (quite), “überaus” (extremely), “völlig” (completely), and “absolut” (absolutely).

Table: some frequently used adverbs of degree in German
Adverb Translation
besonders especially
völlig fully
sehr very
ziemlich quite
nahezu nearly, almost
fast almost
beinahe almost
meistens mostly
meistenteils mostly, for the most part
großenteils largely, mostly
schwerlich scarcely, hardly
kaum barely, hardly

Adverbs of time

Adverbs of time are called Temporaladverbien in German. Their purpose is to provide information about when an event occurs.

Table: list of some commonly used German adverbs of time
Adverb Translation
jetzt now
sofort immediately
bald soon
zuvor previously
bereits already
zurzeit currently
zugleich at the same time
heute today
morgen tomorrow
damals at that time (in the past)
bisher so far
abends in the evening
nachts at night
nachmittags in the afternoon
morgens every morning
spätestens at the latest
neulich recently
derzeit currently
oftmals oftentimes
jederzeit anytime
neuerdings recently, lately
kürzlich recently
unlängst recently
letztens last time, recently
schleunigst immediately, as soon as possible

Adverbs of place

Adverbs of place (which are called Lokaladverbien in German) are used to provide information about where an event occurs. Some common adverbs of place in German include “hier” (here), “dort” (there), “links” (to the left), “rechts” (to the right), “oben” (above), and “unten” (below).

Table: list of the most common German adverbs of place
Adverb Translation
hier here
dort there
überall everywhere
draußen outside
unten below
oben above
innen inside
hinten behind, in the back
hinweg away
vielerorts in many places

Adverbs which are formed from nouns and adjectives

German adverbs which are created from a noun (by adding the suffix -weise)

In German, it is possible to form adverbs from nouns through the use of the suffix “-weise.” This suffix is added to the end of a noun to create an adverb that describes the manner in which an action is performed.

For example, the noun “Zeit” (meaning “time”) can be transformed into the adverb “zeitweise” (meaning “at times” or “for a time”). Similarly, the noun “Ausnahme” (meaning “exception”) can be transformed into the adverb “ausnahmsweise” (meaning “exceptionally”).

Table: German adverbs which are created from a noun, by adding the suffix -weise
Adverb formation
teilweise (partially) Teil + -weise
beispielsweise (for example) Beispiel + -weise
vergleichsweise (comparatively) Vergleich + -weise
schrittweise (gradually) Schritt +‎ -weise
schätzungsweise (approximately) Schätzung + -weise
zeitweise (at times) Zeit + -weise
vorzugsweise (preferably) Vorzug + -weise
ausnahmsweise (exceptionally) Ausnahme + -weise
versuchsweise (experimentally) Versuch + -weise
näherungsweise (approximately) Näherung + -weise
behelfsweise (provisionally) Behelf + -weise
reihenweise (serially) Reihe + -weise
gruppenweise (in groups) Gruppen + -weise
scharenweise (in droves) Scharen + -weise
portionsweise (in portions) Portion + -weise
löffelweise (by the spoonful) Löffel + -weise
absatzweise (intermittently) Absatz + -weise
abschnittsweise (in sections) Abschnitt + -weise
schichtweise (in layers) Schicht + -weise
stapelweise (in batches) Stapel + -weise
haufenweise (in heaps) Haufen + -weise
stückweise (piecemeal) Stück + -weise
stückchenweise (piecemeal) Stückchen + -weise
fallweise (case by case) Fall + -weise
hordenweise (in hordes) Horde + -weise
ansatzweise (to some extent) Ansatz + -weise
stellenweise (in places) Stelle + -n- + -weise
zwangsweise (compulsorily) Zwang + -s + -weise
wahlweise (alternatively) Wahl +‎ -weise
probeweise (on a trial basis) Probe + -weise

German adverbs which are created from adjectives (by adding the suffix -erweise)

In German, there are also many adverbs which were formed by adding the suffix “-erweise” to an adjective. Here is a list of the most commonly used ones:

Table: examples of German adverbs which are created from an adjective, by adding the suffix "-erweise"
Adverb formation
möglicherweise (possibly) möglich + -erweise
normalerweise (normally) normal + -erweise
glücklicherweise (fortunately) glücklich + -erweise
üblicherweise (usually) üblich + -erweise
blöderweise (stupidly) blöd + -erweise
verständlicherweise (understandably) verständlich + -erweise
idealerweise (ideally) ideal + -erweise
erstaunlicherweise (surprisingly) erstaunlich + -erweise
notwendigerweise (necessarily) notwendig + -erweise
bedauerlicherweise (regrettably) bedauerlich + -erweise
leichtsinnigerweise (carelessly) leichtsinnig + -erweise
logischerweise (logically) logisch + -erweise
überraschenderweise (surprisingly) überraschend + -erweise
irrtümlicherweise (mistakenly) irrtümlich + -erweise
fälschlicherweise (wrongly) fälschlich + -erweise
unglücklicherweise (unfortunately) unglücklich -erweise
missbräuchlicherweise (improperly) missbräuchlich + -erweise
typischerweise (typically) typisch + -erweise
zufälligerweise (coincidentally) zufällig + -erweise
unnötigerweise (unnecessarily) unnötig + -erweise
eigenartigerweise (strangely) eigenartig + -erweise
charakteristischerweise (characteristically) charakteristisch + -erweise
natürlicherweise (naturally) natürlich + -erweise
untypischerweise (atypically) untypisch + -erweise
bezeichnenderweise (characteristically) bezeichnend + -erweise
freundlicherweise (kindly) freundlich + -erweise
irrsinnigerweise (insanely) irrsinnig + -erweise
dummerweise (stupidly) dumm + -erweise
ehrlicherweise (honestly) ehrlich + -erweise
komischerweise (funnily) komisch + -erweise
lustigerweise (funnily) lustig + -erweise
traurigerweise (sadly) traurig + -erweise
betrüblicherweise (unfortunately) betrüblich + -erweise
richtigerweise (rightly) richtig + -erweise
erfreulicherweise (happily) erfreulich + -erweise
begreiflicherweise (understandably) begreiflich + -erweise
unverständlicherweise (incomprehensibly) unverständlich + -erweise
witzigerweise (funnily) witzig + -erweise
dämlicherweise (foolishly) dämlich + -erweise
klugerweise (wisely) klug + -erweise
intelligenterweise (intelligently) intelligent + -erweise
schlauerweise (cleverly) schlau + -erweise
naiverweise (naively) naiv + -erweise
merkwürdigerweise (oddly enough) merkwürdig + -erweise
seltsamerweise (strangely) seltsam + -erweise
interessanterweise (interestingly) interessant + -erweise
gewöhnlicherweise (usually) gewöhnlich + -erweise
unsinnigerweise (nonsensically) unsinnig + -erweise
sinnvollerweise (sensibly) sinnvoll + -erweise
vernünftigerweise (reasonably) vernünftig + -erweise
ungewöhnlicherweise (unusually) ungewöhnlich + -erweise
unfreundlicherweise (unkindly) unfreundlich + -erweise
unhöflicherweise (rudely) unhöflich + -erweise
unzulässigerweise (inadmissibly) unzulässig + -erweise
ungerechtfertigterweise (unjustifiedly) ungerechtfertigt + -erweise
ewigerweise (forever) ewig + -erweise
gleicherweise (likewise) gleich + -erweise
ungerechterweise (unjustly) ungerecht + -erweise
gerechterweise (justly) gerecht + -erweise
klassischerweise (classically) klassisch + -erweise
verbotenerweise (illegally) verboten + -erweise
klarerweise (obviously) klar + -erweise

Understanding the different types of adverbs in German and their functions can significantly enhance your ability to communicate accurately and effectively. By using adverbs correctly, your sentences can provide more precise information about the meaning and context, making your language more fluent and natural-sounding.