Easy Learning German

How adverbs are formed - Easy Learning Grammar German

The basic rules
  • Many English adverbs end in -ly, which is added to the end of the adjective (quickquickly; sadsadly; frequentfrequently).
  • In contrast, most German adverbs used to comment on verbs are simply adjectives used as adverbs. And the good news is that unlike adjectives, they do not change by adding different endings.
Habe ich das richtig gehört?Did I hear that correctly?
Er war schick angezogen.He was stylishly dressed.
  • A small number of German adverbs which do not directly comment on the verb are formed by adding -weise or -sweise to a noun.
das Beispielexamplebeispielsweisefor example
die Beziehungrelation, connectionbeziehungsweiseor/or rather/that is to say
der Schrittstepschrittweisestep by step
die Zeittimezeitweiseat times
der Zwangcompulsionzwangsweisecompulsorily
Grammar Extra!Some German adverbs are also formed by adding -erweise to an uninflected adjective. These adverbs are mainly used by the person speaking to express an opinion.
erstaunlichastonishingerstaunlicherweiseastonishingly enough
glücklichhappy, fortunateglücklicherweisefortunately
komischstrange, funnykomischerweisestrangely enough
  • There is another important group of adverbs which are NOT formed from adjectives or nouns, for example, words like unten, oben and leider.
Das beste Buch lag unten auf dem Stapel.The best book was at the bottom of the pile.
Die Schlafzimmer sind oben.The bedrooms are upstairs.
Ich kann leider nicht kommen.Unfortunately I can’t come.
  • Adverbs of time fit into this category and the following are some common ones:
Adverb of timeMeaning
morgensin the mornings
sofortat once
Sie kann erst morgen kommen.She can’t come till tomorrow.
Priska hat immer Hunger.Priska is always hungry.
Ja, ich mache das sofort.Yes, I’ll do it at once.
  • Adverbs often express the idea of ‘to what extent’, for example, words in English like extremely and especially. These are sometimes called adverbs of degree. Some common adverbs of this type in German are:
Adverb of degreeMeaning
kaumhardly, scarcely
Es hat mir nicht besonders gefallen.I didn’t particularly like it.
Ich bin fast fertig.I’m almost finished.
Er war ziemlich sauer.He was quite angry.

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