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In conversation with a native German speaker I said:

Sie ritten weiter still.

and he corrected me to:

Sie ritten still weiter.

Do you agree that the first ordering is in error, and, if so, why?

3 Answers 3

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There's a subtle difference in meaning, regarding which part of the sentence the "weiter" is applied to.

Sie ritten still weiter.

means something like, "They kept on riding, and they did it in a silent fashion".

Sie ritten weiter still.

means something like, "They rode, and they kept doing it silently".

You might say, in the first case the "weiter" is used to further describe the verb (the riding), in the second case the "weiter" is used to further describe the adverb (they're riding silently).

The second case would probably sound more natural if you used "weiterhin" instead of "weiter":

Sie ritten weiterhin still.

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In "Sie ritten still weiter", weiter is part of the phrasal verb weiterreiten. A possible translation might be: "They kept riding on silently."

In "Sie ritten weiter still", weiter is an adverb modifying the adjective still. A possible translation might be: "They rode, still keeping quiet." I would argue, that in this variant, there is a comma missing and that the correct form of the sentence is: "Sie ritten, weiter still."


If my second translation confuses you, please note:

engl. still = germ. weiter
engl. quiet = germ. still

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order of adverbials is: wann? warum? wie? wo?

It should therefore be: Sie ritten still weiter.

weiter|reiten can also be seen as a separable verb with the prefix at the end

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  • 1
    Both the adverbs seem to me to describe how the verb is acting, so the rule does not clarify the order to me.
    – user44591
    Mar 17, 2022 at 15:48
  • The other answer explains well that both phrases are correct - just have different meaning Mar 17, 2022 at 17:01

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