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German Adverbs of Manner and Degree



German Adverbs of manner and degree indicate how or why an action or situation occurs. They answer the questions warum, wie, wozu, wodurch, worüber/ why, how, what for, through what, over what?

For example:

Sie kann es kaum erwarten. (She can hardly wait.)
Wie erwartet sie es? (Kaum.)
How does she wait for it? (Hardly.)

More examples of adverbs of manner and degree:

allein - alone
beinahe - almost
durchaus - throughout
etwa - approximately
fast - almost
leider - unfortunately
nicht - not
sehr - very
so - so
zusammen - together
umsonst - for nothing

Besides the above-mentioned adverbs of manner and degree, in this group we find also:

Adjective-Adverbs: Predicate adjectives are interesting. They will function as adverbs when placed after a conjugated verb. What’s even better, is that you do not need to make any changes to the predicate adjective. Unlike English, Germans do not make a distinction in form between a predicate adjective and an adverb.

For example in English you say:

The man is quiet. (quiet = adjective)
The man sings quietly (quietly = adverb)

Whereas in German you would say:

Der Mann ist leise. (leise = adjective)
Der Mann singt leise. (leise= adverb)

Modal adverbs: A modal particle is a word used often in colloquial language to “color” or intensify the meaning of a sentence. Among these particles, exist adverbs who have this same function. For instance, to intensify the sentence Ich will nach Hause gehen and make it sound more urgent, a person could say: Ich will unbedingt nach Hause gehen! The word unbedingt (absolutely) is a modal adverb.

Here are some modal adverbs:

hoffentlich - hopefully
natürlich - of course
wirklich - really
anscheinend - apparently
bestimmt - surely
eventuell - eventually
wahrscheinlich/vielleicht - probably, maybe

Adverbs with suffixes -weise, maße, mäßig:
Some adverbs of manner and degree have the suffix weise, maße, mäßig as demonstrated in the following sentences.

Können Sie es bitte schrittweise erklären? (Can you explain it step-by-step?)
Es hat diesmal einigermaßen geklappt. (It worked this time to a certain extent.)
Gewohnheitsmäßig kaut sie Kaugummi nach dem Abendessen. (She habitually chews gum after supper.)

The suffixes maßen, mäßig, weise roughly mean “in the manner of, according to”. For example if we use the word versuchsweise, it would be literally translated as “in the art/manner of trying.” In the dictionary it is defined as “tentatively.” So the following sentence “Wir gehen versuchsweise voran” would read as “We are going tentatively forward” which has a similar meaning to the literal translation “in the art/manner of trying.”

Here are more examples of adverbs with suffixes maßen, mäßig, weise:

beispielsweise - for example
gewissermaßen – so to speak
glücklicherweise - luckily
intelligenzmäßig - according to intelligence
möglicherweise - possibly
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