25.5 The Position of Adverbs

As was said before, in certain sciences classifications are done (as it seems) only for the purpose of creating classification. This seems more than anywhere else true in the social sciences. Some of the classifications may however be really useful. For instance to understand the position of an adverb within a conjunct of adverbs, there are four types of adverbs.
Adverbs of Time: When?

Adverbs of Time indicate when something has happened. After temporal adverbs you ask with WHEN? The accident happened before we met. When did the accident happen? Before we met.

Adverbs of Location: Where?

Adverbs of location indicate where something has happened. To find the local adverb you ask WHERE? The accident happened over there. Where did the accident happen? Over there.

Modal Adverbs: How?

Modal adverbs indicate how something has happened. To find the modal adverb you ask HOW/In which way? He certainly does not know about this. In which way does he not know about this?

Causal Adverbs: Why?

Causal Adverbs describe the reason for an action. The question to find the causal adverb is WHY? Because of being mean he has lost everything. Why did he lose everything? For being mean.

In English as well as in German the position of an adverb in the conjunct of adverbs is not 100% fixed, even though it is not totally arbitrary.

Compare these phrases
  Thursday at eight I opened the door with an axe, because I had lost the key.
  At eight on Thursday I opened the door with an axe, because I had lost the key.
  I opened the door on Thursday at eight with an axe because I had lost the key.
  With an axe, at 8 a.m., I opened the door on Thursday, because I had lost the key.

Probably most would say that the first phrase sounds best.

In German the order is usually this:
  adverb of time => causal adverb => modal adverb => local adverb
  This order does also apply for adverbial constructions!

Position of adverbs
    adverb of time causal adverb modal adverb local adverb
  Ich fahre morgen wegen des schlechten Wetters mit dem Auto in die Stadt.
I go to town by car tomorrow because of bad weather.

The phrase Ich fahre morgen wegen des schlechten Wetters mit dem Auto in die Stadt is grammatically correct, but it is far from good style. If there are so many adverbial constructions in one sentence, one is put in the beginning. Which one is put first can be chosen freely.

Alternatives
  Wegen des schlechten Wetters fahre ich morgen mit dem Auto in die Stadt.
  Morgen fahre ich wegen des schlechten Wetters mit dem Auto in die Stadt.
  Mit dem Auto fahre ich morgen wegen des schlechten Wetters in die Stadt.  






contact privacy statement imprint