Adverb (from the Latin adverb; plural: adverbs ), German and adverb (or rare: sub-word ) is in the grammar of many languages ​​a part of speech whose members usually have a fixed form (ie are not inflected ) and predominantly as adverbial determination serve, ie, details of events or properties to express.

In many languages, adverbs can be derived by special endings of adjectives ( eg English beautiful - beautifully ). In German, however, there are very few clear cases of adverbs derived with a word formation rule ( but eg wise - wisely ). For non- derived words usually adverbs are compared as a separate part of speech adjectives in adverbial function. In German, also a few adverbs can be increased.

  • 2.1 Significance classes
  • 2.2 Syntactic classes
  • 3.1 Solidified endings on adverbs
  • 3.2 Productive Adverbendungen
  • 3.3 adverbs comparative forms in
  • 4.1 English
  • 4.2 Latin
  • 4.3 Languages ​​with inflected adverbs

Definitions and delimitations

In traditional grammar is often attempts to determine the part of speech adverb by specifying the content, functions, for example, that we are dealing with words that indicate " time, place, modality ( = way ) reason ." These functions are the same, which can be found also for prepositions and subordinate clauses and subordinating conjunctions, and the total characteristic of adverbial provisions. In this substantive overlap remains as the characteristic of adverbs that they are words that do not need grammatical supplements as opposed to prepositions and subordinating conjunctions.

In recent approaches grammatical criteria are preferably mentioned are: adverbs could be characterized as ( 1) uninflected part of speech, their representatives ( 2) alone can form a phrase in itself. The criterion for phrase - status here is the ability to appear in advance, ie before the finite verb in declarative sentence:

_ { Today / there / haste / so } _ came Hans According to this criterion adverbs boundaries so as to ( 1) flektierbare word types, such as adjectives and (2) words that do not have the status of a sentence element ( particles in the narrow sense, which are not the run-up capable).

Adverb and adjective

Adjectives that are used as an attribute to a noun are inflected in German ( bent ), ie they show in this construction agreement with the noun in the features of case, number and gender. Between the article and the noun " car " the adjective appears "fast" therefore in the form of "fast", in other applications, it appears unchanged:

A) overtook the fast car. b ) The car is fast. c ) The car is going fast. As is always the same word meaning exists, and otherwise there are no external signs of a Wortartwechsel, you can see all three occurrences of take "quick" under the part of speech adjective, and then differs according to the function in a) attributive use, in b) predicative use ( as part of the predicate is fast ) and c ) adverbial use of the adjective.

The fact of the adverbial use is then not seen as a reason to "fast" assigned to in c) a separate part of speech, which is different from a). In this sense, there is the conceptual distinction:

  • Adverbial = a grammatical function (which can be, for example, marked by prepositions or conjunctions, and what after this model in fact can also be used adjectives or adverbs ).
  • Adverb = a part of speech ( which occurs mostly in the capacity of adverbials )

Chance however, a compromise searched and type " fast" in c ) is issued a so-called Adjektivadverb of the other cases authors.

In contrast to adjectives then belong to the part of speech adverb only words that can appear above never inflected in attributive use as a) (the asterisk " *" denotes grammatical forms excluded ):

A) * The much light selling the car. b ) * The sale may be. c ) maybe he sold his car. However, some adverbs can appear as a qualifier to a noun, however, they occur also not before the noun on, but then uninflected:

[ The car there ] is mine. Furthermore, it is observed that many words that are usually used adverbially, but as an adjective attributes are impossible, also can occur in predicative function; many authors do not see this as an obstacle to put the adverb part of speech here

He does it differently. The book is different from the other. See: * The anderse Book ( distinguish other - er,- e, - it = adj; otherwise = Adv ) Adverb, pronoun and preposition

Demarcation problems between adverbs and prepositions occur where words with adverbial function are without supplements. This concerns the so-called Pronominaladverbien, so compositions with a preposition and a pronoun / adverbial element in a single word, such as:

So that ( = with) it (to the ) thereof ( = from here, or: by). While Pronominaladverbien be conducted in German grammars as a subgroup of adverbs, they are allocated in the linguistic literature often the category of prepositions (since the prepositional element is regarded therein as her head).

Some uncertainty as to the classification of question words such as "where ", " how ", etc., with which prepositional phrases as adverbs or adverbial as well as predicative adjectives or can be requested. In the grammar of the German they encounter usually as Frageadverbien.

How did he leave? - Frantic / In great bustle Where's the beer? - Outside / On the balcony The same ambiguity carries over to relative clauses, which are initiated by elements with adverbial function. Analogous to the category of Frageadverbs is therefore also recognized a separate relative adverb in German grammar spelling, so for cases such as: the place where the beer is.

Adverb and particles

The term particle encountered in a wider and a narrower sense. In a broader sense, sometimes not all inflected word types are so called (especially in older literature, this speech was given, for example, in more recent versions of the Duden grammar).

In a narrower sense particles are defined as uninflected words that are 1) no parts of a sentence, ie not solely can occupy the apron of the set and 2) do not have a linking function. For the first criterion, it follows that, for example, then increase words such as "very, very, extremely " not classified in the Germanic tradition as adverbs, but as particles ( in the narrow sense ). Other approaches take the concept further adverb; as particles increase in the English-speaking and linguistically oriented literature are referred to rather than Gradadverbien. Some of these have the suffix- ly adverbtypische (eg, fairly, utterly ) in English.

Classification of Adverbs

In German, adverbs form a relatively large, open class with over 1000 members. Since the determination of adverbs is mainly negative (not inflected, not attributive use), the result here is possibly a non-uniform residual class that is not easy to classify and exhaustive. Often encounter cross-classifications in which content and grammatical criteria appear alternately.

Importance classes

The substantive importance classes of adverbs are the same, which can be generally specified for adverbial provisions. Major types are for example:

  • Adverbs ( here, there, right there ... ) denote places.
  • Temporal adverbs (then, afterwards, later, tomorrow, tomorrow, yesterday ... ) denote the time at which a fact is true.
  • Kausaladverbien (namely, else, so ... ) denote the causes of a situation, or act on the text layer to reasoning relationships between sentences to signal (see also: Konjunktionaladverb ). Related meanings also have the Konzessivadverbien as yet, though.
  • Modal adverbs ( hastily, like ) shall indicate the manner of a process (not the modality ), or related categories. ( However, many adverbs of manner are adjectives ).
  • Speaker -oriented adverbs (also: Satzadverbien, Modalwörter ) (probably, unfortunately, to be honest ) refer to settings of the speaker expressed the sentence content.

Syntactic classes

General can be classified in the sentence adverbials according to their position, ie especially after how close they are to the verb. Two extreme cases can be distinguished:

  • Adverbials, the closer must be the verb as all kinds of direct objects; often they describe results of an action: "She has painted the cabinet beautiful." - For this type, there may be only words tagged as adjective.
  • Adverbials, which must be at the outer edge of the set, especially outside of negation; This applies eg for speaker -related adverbs ( "probably, unfortunately " ) or for local and adverbs if they provide a framework for the entire statement (see " ... because since then nothing has happened ").
  • More position categories can be identified between these two in the middle of the German sentence.

In a different classification can be stored Adverbs different type face their corresponding question words, so the Interrogativadverbien ( where, when, how, why, ...). Question words can also be substituted Pronominaladverbien be (which, so ... ).

Forms of Adverbs

Solidified endings on adverbs

Much like prepositions and adverbs from nouns or participles can occur which lose their typical characteristics category. A large group of adverbs has a suffix -s, which may be partly interpreted as a solidified case ending (in the evening, again ). Also visible are former endings of adjectives that could signal the adverbial use, as -e (remote ) or lights ( ... endureth for ever ).

Productive Adverbendungen

A case of productive formation of adverbs in German is the ending- legally, can be formed with the speaker, and some other Satzadverbien, but never Style and manner adverbs:

Unfortunately, he replied (speaker -related) see: He has answered stupid ( way) This Adverbform is from a compound " adjective noun: way " emerged, spelling rules varied here over time between the Separated letters rather stupidly, and coupled together above. While the shapes thus formed may be used only adverbially, meet developments of the form " noun noun: way, " as adjectives; they are therefore a grammatically different class. comparisons:

  • Type adjective ( stupid) way:

Make it stupidly wrong - NOT * a stupid mistake by step Type noun ( part, stage ) way:

Withdraw partially - ALSO: a partial withdrawal " A gradual reduction of tariffs is recommended". From prescriptive grammarians is sometimes denied that this adjective forms may be considered acceptable as fully, documents already exist from the 19th century.

Comparative forms for adverbs

The statement that adverbs in English are inflected is not to relate to the lack of Kongruenzformen. On the other hand, there are some cases of adverbs comparative forms ( comparative and superlative ) can form ( however, it is generally debatable whether superlative forms of inflection or word formation include ):

  • Soon - more - most likely
  • Well - comfortable - the most comfortable
  • Like - rather - preferably
  • Often - more often - most often (rarely also: most often )

Adverbformen in other languages


In English there as in English adverbs, which are considered separate word class because they can not appear attributive, such as well ( cf. the adjective good ), alone ( cf. the adjective lonely ). Unlike the Germans otherwise adverbs meaning all types can be formed with a productive suffix, namely by adding the suffix - ly to an adjective. It is debatable whether this suffix has the status of word-formation element or inflection of the adjective is comparable.


The Latin also knows non- derived temporal, local, modal and Kausaladverbien. In addition, adverbial forms of adjectives can be formed by using a specific extension occurs on the trunk, which depends on the inflection paradigm of the adjective. It receives

This occurs even a euphonisches -i ( 3) in the majority of cases between stem and suffix. If the root but on - nt, merges this with the suffix - ter to - nter (4).

Examples of regular training:

  • ( 1) clar -us, - a,-um → clar - ē
  • ( 2) audax, Audac -is - ter → Audac
  • ( 3) continuing -is, -is continued → fort- i-th
  • ( 4) vehemens, vehemently -is → (* vehemently - ter ) → vehement

In certain adverbs through other ( " irregular " ) have received forms by the classical time of the grammarians usually as " solidified ablative " ( raro ) or " solidified accusative " ( facile ) to be interpreted.

Adverbs can also be increased in Latin. It is

  • A) Sing neuter ( - ius ) was used as comparative of the adverb of the comparative of the adjective in the accusative,
  • B ) provided as a superlative of the adverb the superlative of the adjective with the suffix - ē.


  • ( a) fortior, Fortius Fortius →
  • ( b) vehementissimus, -A, - to vehementissimē →

Languages ​​with inflected adverbs

Although adverbs are generally classified as uninflected part of speech, are at least two known languages ​​in which they form but Kongruenzformen: In Avar adverbs show congruence with the subject, and in the Maori passive morphology shows the adverb when the verb of the sentence carries some.


The French writer Léon Bloy writes in a review of Là -bas work of his colleague Joris -Karl Huysmans:

" The adverb is, according to the grammar of an immutable word that modifies the verb, the adjective, or another adverb by an idea of ​​the place, from the time of the circumstances, etc.. This dangerous subordinates is the shepherd of the flock sentence. If he orders, then to devour. The Saturnian literature shows that the same adverb is a word dusk as it prepares itself to make the affirmation barren to blur by sealing the contours of the word, and to favor the monstrous pairings of the antinomy in a fog. It is the benefactor of nothingness. "