Easy Learning German

Word order with adverbs - Easy Learning Grammar German

  • In English, adverbs can come in different places in a sentence.
I’m never coming back.
See you soon!
Suddenly the phone rang.
I’d really like to come.
  • This is also true of adverbs in German, but as a general rule they are placed close to the word to which they refer.
  • Adverbs of time often come first in the sentence, but this is not fixed.
Morgen gehen wir ins Theater OR:
Wir gehen morgen ins Theater.We’re going to the theatre tomorrow.
  • Adverbs of place can be put at the beginning of a sentence to provide emphasis.
Dort haben sie Fußball gespielt OR:
Sie haben dort Fußball gespieltThey played football there.
  • Adverbs of manner are adverbs which comment on verbs. These are likely to come after the verb to which they refer, but in tenses which are made up of haben or sein + the past participle of the main verb, they come immediately before the past participle.
Sie spielen gut.They play well.
Sie haben heute gut gespielt.They played well today.
Du benimmst dich immer schlecht.You always behave badly.
Du hast dich schlecht benommen.You have behaved badly.
  • Where there is more than one adverb in a sentence, it’s useful to remember the following rule:
“time, manner, place”
Wir haben gestern gut dorthin gefunden.We found our way there all right yesterday.
gestern = adverb of time
gut = adverb of manner
dorthin = adverb of place
  • Where there is a pronoun object (a word like her, it, me or them) in a sentence, it comes before all adverbs.
Sie haben es gestern sehr billig gekauft.They bought it very cheaply yesterday.
es = pronoun object
gestern = adverb of time
billig = adverb of manner
Key points
  • In German, the position of adverbs in a sentence is not fixed, but they generally come close to the words they refer to.
  • Where there is more than one adverb in a sentence, it is useful to remember the rule: time, manner, place.
  • Where there is a pronoun object in a sentence, it comes before all adverbs.

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