Go to the homepage of this German Course Chapter 12: Finding a flat University of Portsmouth
12.14 New German adverbs

Adverbial superlatives ending in "-stens"
In the accommodation advertisements in this chapter you will have noted a number of adverbs ending in "-stens". These were originally "superlatives" (i.e. they implied that something was "the most..."), but now they mainly have an idiomatic function. The most commonly used adverbs of this type are listed below.

(very well)
(at the latest)
(at the earliest)
(at least)
(at the most)
(most warmly)
(at the longest)
(as quickly
as possible)
(at least)

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of this group of adverbial superlatives by clicking on the bar below:


  • Ich suche ein helles Zimmer, mindestens 19 Quadratmeter.
    (I'm looking for a bright room, at least 19 square metres.)
  • ab frühestens Dezember 2008 bis mindestens Juni 2009.
    (from December 2008 at the earliest until at least June 2009.)
  • Bitte meldet euch bis spätestens 30. November 2008
    (Please get in touch by 30th November 2008 at the latest.)
  • Der Kurs wird höchstens / längstens zwanzig Tage dauern.
    (The course will last twenty days at the most.)
  • Ein Student muss wenigstens achtzehn Jahre alt sein.
    (A student must be at least eighteen years old.)
  • Katja steht meistens früh auf.
    (Katja usually gets up early.)
  • Elektroherde sind wärmstens zu empfehlen.
    (Electric cookers are most warmly recommended.)
  • Rauchen ist strengstens verboten.
    (Smoking is strictly forbidden.)
  • Schnellstens zu verkaufen!
    (Must be sold very quickly!)

Other adverbial superlatives
We have already met some other adverbial superlatives ending in "-st":

  • Die Wohnungssituation in Dresden ist äußerst wichtig.
    (The accommodation situation in Dresden is extremely difficult.)
  • Suche Zimmer in Dresden. Möglichst zentral gelegen.
    (I'm looking for a room in Dresden. Situated as centrally as possible.)
  • Diese Frage ist höchst kompliziert.
    (This question is extremely complicated.)

"Not yet" and "no longer"
In German, "not yet" is translated by "noch nicht" and "no more" by "nicht mehr". As the negative "nicht" is contained in both of these adverbial phrases, there is no need to make the verb in such sentences negative - unlike in English.

  • Das Frühstück ist noch nicht fertig.
    (Breakfast isn't ready yet.)
  • Diese Altbauten sind noch nicht saniert.
    (These old buildings have not been renovated yet.)
  • Marlene wird nicht mehr hier sein.
    (Marlene won't be here any more.)
  • Ich kann diese Zeitung nicht mehr lesen!
    (I can't read this newspaper any more!)

Weiter!Chapter 12.15: Miscellaneous grammar points

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