An adverbial or adverb is a type of word which describes the manner of the activity of a sentence. This could be when or how an activity takes place (1).

In English, adverbs often end -ly (suddenly, quickly, slightly, etc). Other adverbs are time elements (today, last night, etc) and frequency elements (twice, always, never. etc). Several adverbials (currently 11) are found to have the verb suffix -Ha' to reverse the base meaning, but these are attested words and does not mean we can make our adverbials in this fashion. There are afew combinations with -Ha' which Okrand definitely rejected.

Types of adverbials

For a very long time, the given set of adverbials from TKD has never changed. Only few words were added lately, either by adding the suffix -Ha' or by finding an entirely new word.

Basic adverbs

Klingon Translation Source
batlh honorably TKD
batlhHa' dishonorably KGT
bong accidentally, unintentionally TKD
chaq perhaps TKD
chIch on purpose, purposely TKD
DaH now TKD
De'chel by the way, parenthetically qep'a' 2020
Do' luckily, fortunately TKD
Do'Ha' unluckily, unfortunately KGT
ghaytan likely TKD
ghaytanHa' unlikely Radio Times
ghIq after that, subsequently HQ 8.3, p.4, Sept. 1999
jaS differently TKD
jaSHa' similarly qep'a' 2012
jay' intensely (invective) TKD
loQ slightly, a little bit TKD
loQHa' considerably, appreciably paq'batlh 2nd ed.
meQHam ironically, counterintuitively, incongruously qep'a' 2021
motlh usually, typically, expectedly KGT
neH only, merely, just TKD
neHHa' not only paq'batlh 2nd ed.
nIteb alone TKD
nItebHa' together BoP
nom fast, quickly TKD
not never TKD
ngugh then, at that time HQ 8.4, p.8, Dec. 1999
pay' suddenly TKD
pe'vIl forcefully TKD
pe'vIlHa' gently qep'a' 2012
pIj often, frequently TKD
pIjHa' seldom, infrequently KGT
qen recently s.k
QIt slowly TKD
reH always TKD
roD regularly, habitually KGT
rut sometimes TKD
SetqIn alternatively, instead, rather Alice in Wonderland
SIbI' immediately TKD
SIbI'Ha' later, eventually Monopoly 2011
tugh soon TKD
tlhoS almost KGT
tlhoy overly, excessively HQ 8.3, p.2, Sept. 1999
vabDot even, including, also Monopoly 2011
vaj thus, in that case, so, accordingly, then TKD
wej not yet TKD
wejHa' already, before now, as of now qepHom 2020
'eQ just, a moment ago qepHom 2019

Time Stamps

Some "time" nouns can function as adverbials.
Klingon Translation Klingon Translation
DaHjaj today DaHjaj po this morning
wa'Hu' yesterday wa'Hu' ram last night
wa'leS tomorrow wa'leS po tomorrow morning

See also the list of ➞ time vocabulary


Adverbials that indicate "frequency" can be made from numbers by adding the suffix -logh (2).
Number Translation Frequency Translation
wa' one wa'logh once
cha' two cha'logh twice
chorgh eight chorghlogh eight times

Placing adverbials

In Klingon, an adverbial usually comes before the object-verb-subject construction which it describes. If there is a "time" adverbial, it precedes any other adverbial:
DaHjaj nom Soppu' Today they ate quickly (3)

An adverbial may be placed between the object and verb if the object has the -'e' suffix:
HaqwI''e' DaH yISam Find the surgeon now!

The question words ghorgh (when), qatlh (why), and chay' (how) come at the beginning of the sentence, before anything else. (4)


The adverbial jay' is unique in that it is placed at the end of a sentence and effectively turns the entire sentence into an invective (5).
qaStaH nuq? What is happening? qaStaH nuq jay'? What the #$%@ is happening?
mIch 'elpu' They've entered the sector mIch 'elpu' jay' They've entered the #$%@ sector

Only / merely

The adverbial neH is unique in that it follows the verb and has the effect of minimizing or trivializing the event.
qama' vIqIppu' neH I merely hit the prisoner.

If neH follows a noun, it means only, alone: yaS neH yIqIp Hit only the officer!

neHHa' works like neH and means not only: Hegh HoD neHHa' Captain wasn't the only one who died.

neH and neHHa' are the only adverbials that can follow a noun.

For more details and canon examples, see the word entry ➞ neH.


Some adverbials can occur alone, functioning much like an exclamation. nom Quickly! wej Not yet!


1 : The Klingon Dictionary 5.4, p. 55

2 : The Klingon Dictionary 5.2, p. 55

3 : The Klingon Dictionary, 6.7

4 : The Klingon Dictionary, 6.4

5 : The Klingon Dictionary 5.4, p. 177

Category: Grammar    Latest edit: 26 Jun 2022, by FergusQ    Created: 13 Jul 2014 by BradWilson
History: r18 < r17 < r16 < r15 - View wiki text
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