German Adverbs – Location and Comparatives

Adverben im Deutschen – Position und Komparative

German Adverbs – Summary


Adverbs often indicate the place, time, the cause or the kind of way of an action. They mostly refer to a verb and are not declined. There are different types of adverbs: Local, temporal, causal and modal adverbs.

The Comparative and Superlative of Adverbs

Normally, adverbs don’t have a comparative or a superlative form. But the adverbs “oft” and “wohl” are exceptions. They even have two ways of comparatives and superlatives.

German comparative adverbs Tab 1

Other exceptions are the irregular adverbs “gern, bald” and “sehr“.

German comparative adverbs Tab 2

Welcome to! Well, as you have found the way to this article, I suppose that you are ready to enter the depth of German adverbs. So, in this case we will talk about German comparative adverbs and superlative adverbs. Furthermore, we will have a detailed look on the different positions of adverbs in German sentences.

Of course, the position of adverbs in German phrases is very different from the one in English. Although there are some parallels, you will see that it is necessary to pay a lot of attention of these differences.

Well, I am sure that it will provide you with all the information you need. And now, let’s not lose too much time and come straight to the  position of adverbs. Los geht’s!

The Position of German Adverbs

Die Position von Adverben im Deutschen

So, let’s come to the first point of this article and talk about the position of German adverbs in some detail. Well, as already mentioned above, I will not talk about a definition or basic principles of German adverbs. Here, we will talk about the two possible positions in a phrase: First, the placement of German adverbs at the beginning of a sentence and second, the location in the middle of the sentence.

Adverbs at the Beginning of a Sentence

First of all, let’s talk about the position of German adverbs at the beginning of a sentence. Well, adverbs that come at the beginning change the word order of a sentence.

The verb generally stays in the second position, which means that the subject and finite verb switch position.

So, an example would be: “Philip liebt seinen Hund.” – “Deshalb liebt Philip seinen Hund.”

Adverbs in the Middle of a Sentence

In this case, if the adverb is not at the beginning of the sentence, there are a few other possibilities. Well, the following principle rules are very useful:

  1. First, generally, the adverb is placed before the accusative object but after the dative object.
    “Philip spielt deshalb mit seinem Hund.”
  2. However, to emphasize the adverb, it is also possible to put it after the accusative object.
     “Jedoch konnte Philip seinem Hund nie einen Salto beibringen.”
  3. Third, it is important to remember that adverbs can’t be placed directly before a pronoun. So, if the dative and accusative objects are pronouns, the adverb must be placed after both of them.
    Philip fragt den Tierarzt, ob er ihm ausnahmsweise Hundefutter schenken kann.
  4. Fourth, in case that there is no object in the phrase, the adverb is put directly after the finite verb.
    Philips Hund ist leider gestorben.
  5. Fifth and last, if there are indications of time and place together with prepositions, then the adverbs come before the preposition.
    Philip ging gestern zum Tierarzt.

Please, keep in mind that these rules from above are only basic rules of placing adverbs in the right position. Sometimes, the position of the adverb can change, depending on what you want to emphasize.

Comparative Adverbs

Komparative Adverben

So, an additional – but not less important – point about adverbs are the German comparative adverbs. Well, as most of you will know, adverbs usually don’t change. Nevertheless, there are comparative German adverbs and even superlative adverbs!

  • Philip fühlte sich eher dem ersten Tierarzt zugeneigt.
  • Der Tierarzt, dem Philip am meisten vertraut, ist der in der Bahnhofstraße.
  • Am liebsten hätte Philip drei Hunde!

Well, in the following table you can find the positive, comparative and superlative form of German comparative adverbs. Of course, there are many more – as they are irregular, you simply have to study them.

German comparative adverbs Tab 3

By the way, in case you want to construct a comparative form of an adverb, you can sometimes use the forms of “weiter” and “am weitesten”. As a result, “weiter links” (more left) is created.

Some last Words…

Einige letzte Worte

Well, we have reached the end of this article about German comparative adverbs and their general position in German phrases. Unfortunately, word order and also the construction of German comparative adverbs are kind of irregular. So, the only thing you can do about that is taking your grammar book and your vocabulary and study, study, study. And with these wonderful advice I’d like to say goodbye. Auf Wiedersehen!

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