Pronominal adverbs

(Using German pronominal, prepositional, or pro-adverbs)

Table of contents – pronominal adverbs

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Use of pronominal adverbs
  2. Further explanations and exercises

What are pronominal adverbs?

Prepositional or pronominal adverbs are used like pronouns and replace a combination of, for example, preposition + pronoun (e.g. ‘mit was’) in a sentence. They never refer to persons but only to things. Compare their formation and usage:

  • Pronominal adverbs can consist of the following compounds. In some cases, an ‘r’ is additionally inserted when compounding:
    • Adverbwo’ + preposition (durch, nach, her, etc.):
      • Examples: womit, wovon, worauf (with ‘r’), wonach, woher, wodurch, woran, worum
        • „Ich weiß nicht genau, worum es geht.“ (I don’t know exactly what it’s about.)
          • reference to ‘um was’
        • „Wir wissen nicht, woher sie kommt.“ (We don’t know where she comes from.)
          • reference to ‘von wo’
    • Adverbda’ + preposition (auf, zu, rüber, etc.):
      • Examples: darüber, darauf, damit, daran, dazu
        • Damit haben Sie wohl nicht gerechnet?“ (You didn’t expect that, did you?)
          • reference to ‘mit dem’
        • Daran zu glauben wäre Zeitverschwendung.“ (To believe in that would be a waste of time.)
          • reference to ‘an das’
    • Adverbhier’ + preposition (von, durch, mit, etc.):
      • Examples: hiermit, hiervon, hierzu, hierdurch, hiervon
        • Hiervon betroffen sind alle, die bei dieser Schneelage verreisen wollten.“ (This affects everyone who wanted to travel in this snowy weather.)
          • reference to ‘von dem’
        • „Ich kann hierzu nichts mehr sagen.“ (I cannot say anything more about this.)
          • reference to ‘zu dem’
  • Careful: Prepositional adverbs cannot relate to persons:
    • „Marcel ging mit Simone ins Kino.“ (Marcel went to the cinema with Simone.)
    • „Marcel ging mit ihr ins Kino.“ (Marcel went to the cinema with her.)
      • reference to ‘Simone’

Further explanations referring to the topic ‘Pronominal adverbs’

The following explanations relate to the ‘Use of pronominal or prepositional adverbs in German grammar’ and may therefore be interesting too: