What is it about the word combination »weiter unterwegs« that restricts its usage to the verb sein? If one looks for the use of unterwegs with various verbs of travel, fahren, gehen, reisen, etc., there are many examples of such usage. But the same search when adding weiter yields only the verb sein. Why can one not say, for instance,

Sie gehen weiter unterwegs. ?

  • 1
    "Sie fahren weiter unterwegs" or "sie reisen weiter unterwegs" sound just as strange to me. Where have you found examples for such constructions?
    – DonHolgo
    Jun 1, 2022 at 15:11
  • 3
    same reason that "on the way" can also only be used with "to be". Jun 1, 2022 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


In my opinion you can also say "Ich bleibe weiter unterwegs". But certainly "Ich bin weiter unterwegs" is the better variant.

  • I will simply chalk up the fact that DWDS has no examples of "weiter unterwegs" with any verb other than sein, to the incompleteness of DWDS, then.
    – user44591
    Jun 9, 2022 at 23:26

The word "weiter" does not require "sein".

"unterwegs sein" on the other hand is a composed verb. See Duden https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/unterwegs_sein. You have to use the verb "sein" no matter if you use it in combination with "weiter" or not.

E.g: "Ich bin noch immer unterwegs", "Sie ist unterwegs"

But "unterwegs" by itself is just an adverb indicating where you are (= lokales Adverb).



So you could call your boss asking where she is, and she could answer: "Ich bin unterwegs"

This means roughly "I am on the way".

It is similar to "Ich bin am Weg" - it describes where you are. Just as you could say: "Ich bin schon in der Arbeit."

But you could ask your friend where she bought her sandwich and she could answer: "Ich habe das Sandwich unterwegs gekauft." In this case you don't need the verb "sein" because "unterwegs" only indicates where the sandwich was bought. The action of the subject is described by the buying of the sandwich while the "unterwegs" tells you where the action took place.

In the sentence "Ich bin weiter unterwegs." the "unterwegs sein" describes the action of the subject.

  • 1
    The problem with this answer is that it is not consistent with other local adverbs: Weiter draußen bildeten sich Schaumkämme. bit.ly/3am4eQw. So the statement that unterwegs is a local adverb does not explain why it cannot be combined with other verbs, other than sein. "Further along on the way" would seem to be a reasonable idea to want to express.
    – user44591
    Jun 2, 2022 at 14:05
  • @user44591 "unterwegs haben wir einen Freund getroffen." --> where? "unterwegs". I'm not stating that you need the verb sein. But "unterwegs sein" has its own entry (see duden link above) as a composite verb. So it is not the "weiter" that requires the "sein". You are still holding on to believeing that any use of "weiter" would dictate the verb. E.g. "Ich bin weiter unterwegs/unten/draußen/drinnen/oben". But "unterwegs/unten/draußen/drinnen/oben haben sich Schaumkronen gebildet." It is independent of the "weiter". I hope that helps
    – ilam engl
    Jun 5, 2022 at 11:11
  • @user44591 I have tried to clarify my answer - feel free to open a chat if you feel I didn't answer your question.
    – ilam engl
    Jun 5, 2022 at 11:53
  • I really appreciate your sincere effort to clarify my confusion. Let me try to be more precise. It is correct to say, »Weiter draußen bildeten sich Schaumkämme.« So why is it not also correct to say, »Weiter unterwegs bildeten Schaumkämme,« given the appropriate context, of course?
    – user44591
    Jun 6, 2022 at 14:00
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    @user44591 It is correct to say "Weiter unterwegs bildeten sich Schaumkämme" (you just forgot the "sich" that belongs to "bilden" --> reflexive verb. Also keep in mind that grammar in all languages is full of exceptions.
    – ilam engl
    Jun 8, 2022 at 9:28

Grammatically, the word "unterwegs" is an adverb of location, like the other answer said.

However, it doesn't actually specify a location, it specifies a "state" that you're in, a mode of being.

So maybe it helps to think of the sentence as

  • Ich bin weiter "busy".

The state is "unterwegs sein" or "busy sein" and "weiter" is an adverb that expresses you're continuously being in that state.

  • Here a random sentence from DWDS in which weiter is used to indicate a change or movement: "Eigentlich lässt sich nichts schützen, wenn es sich raustraut oder etwas weiter oben mitspielen will." Why could it not just as well be, " Eigentlich lässt sich nichts schützen, wenn es sich raustraut oder etwas weiter unterwegs mitspielen will?"
    – user44591
    Jun 9, 2022 at 15:08
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    @user44591 "weiter oben mitspielen" can mean two things "play further up" and "continuously play up there". Both make sense in the context of a sports league. With "weiter unterwegs mitspielen", the only possible reading is "continuously play while on the way" because there is no "more unterwegs". But if you for instance talk about an MMORPG and someone is playing on their phone while going places, then you can use "weiter unterwegs mitspielen".
    – Emanuel
    Jun 9, 2022 at 23:11
  • 1
    @user44591 so I think actually, the phrase is not limited to "sein" after all.
    – Emanuel
    Jun 9, 2022 at 23:12

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