Adverb Clause: Types of Adverbial Clauses with Useful Examples

Adverb clauses are very popular in the English language, allowing for greater clarity and specificity in sentence structure. These clauses function as adverbs, and can sometimes be confused with adverb phrases. To further explore the different types of adverb clauses, their functions, and how to use them effectively in writing, please read on. Understanding adverb clauses can be a valuable asset to enhance the quality of your writing.

Adverb Clauses: Definition 

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What Is an Adverb Clause?

An adverb clause, also known as an adverbial clause, comprises a subject and a verb, and that’s why not every group word is an adverb clause. At the start of every adverb clause, there is a subordinate conjunction. Examples of subordinate conjunctions include: after, although, because, when and if. A sentence composed of a group word that functions as an adverb and does not comprise of a subject and a verb, then it’s an adverb phrase. Please do not confuse the two. 

For example, in the sentence “He walks home when it rains,” the adverb clause “when it rains” provides information about the time or condition when the action of walking home occurs. The subordinating conjunction, ‘when,’ introduces the adverb clause, and the clause modifies the verb ‘walks.’

What are the uses of adverb clauses?

An adverb clause is used in a sentence to add relevant and descriptive information to your content. Adverb clauses are flexible enough in that they can be used in different parts of a sentence. For instance, they can be placed at the start, middle, or end of a sentence, based on where they perfectly fit.

Position of Adverb Clauses

At the Beginning of a Sentence

When an adverb clause is placed at the start of a sentence, it is usually followed by a comma. This is illustrated in the following examples:

  • Whether you like it or not, you have to attend the afternoon lessons.
  • Unless you apologize, you will be punished.
  • Unless you put more effort into your studies, you will not excel.

In the Middle of a Sentence

Commas separate the adverb clause in the middle of the sentence. This is not the usual presentation since there is an interruption of the foremost thought. An example of this is illustrated below:

  • Dogs, although they bark, they cannot scare visitors.
  • James, although he is good at mathematics, he cannot score everything.

At the End of a Sentence

When placed at the end of the sentence, an adverb clause does not require any additional punctuation. Examples of this include:

  • You need to keep on practicing the song until you get it right.
  • Give us a call when you get past Melbourne.
  • The day so was long because we were completely idle.
  • You need to remain calm even if something does not go as planned.
  • I won’t let you watch the video clip even though you are 18 years and above.
  • I never knew how good life was until I met you.

Types of Adverb Clauses

Keep in mind to check for a subject and a verb if you are not sure whether a group of words is an adverb clause or not. If it is composed of a verb and a subject and it does answer the question when, where, how then it’s an adverb clause. You should always remember to use adverb clauses properly since they add more descriptive information, thereby bringing relevance to your work and making it useful as much as possible.

Adverbial clauses are grouped into the following categories:

  • Adverb clauses of place
  • Adverb clauses of time
  • Adverb clauses of cause and effect
  • Adverb clauses of purpose
  • Adverb clauses of condition
  • Adverb clauses of manner
  • Adverb clauses of concession/contrast

Adverb Clauses of Place

Adverb clauses of place describe where an action takes place. These clauses are typically introduced by conjunctions like where or wherever. They provide spatial information, which can help create vivid images and make the text more engaging.

For example: 

  • Where there is a party, there is enjoyment.
  • The flowers bloomed where the sun shone brightest.

Adverb Clauses of Time

Adverb clauses of time explain when an action occurs. They are often introduced by conjunctions such as when, while, before, after, as soon as, or until. These clauses help establish a clear order of events or provide context for the reader.

For example: 

  • When the referee brews the final whistle, all the players left the pitch.
  • After the exams are done, we will all leave the school compound.

Adverb Clauses of Cause and Effect

Adverb clauses of cause and effect clarify the reasons behind an action or event. They often start with conjunctions such as because, since, or as. These clauses help to explain the correlations between different situations or incidents.

For example: 

  • She won the race because she had done enough practice.
  • She always wears sunscreen since her skin is sensitive to sunlight.

Adverb Clauses of Purpose

Adverb clauses of purpose describe the intended result or purpose of an action. These clauses are introduced by conjunctions like so that, so. They provide additional information about why something was done.

For example:

  • I studied hard so (that) I could get a good grade. 
  • He woke up early so (that) he wouldn’t be late for work. 

Adverb Clauses of Condition

Adverb clauses of condition illustrate a particular circumstance in which an action will occur. Common conjunctions introducing conditional clauses include if, unless, or in case. These clauses help to convey hypothetical scenarios or specific conditions tied to the main action of the sentence.

For example: 

  • You can buy a new home if you save money.
  • Unless you work hard, you will not do well in your exams.

Adverb Clauses of Manner

Adverb clauses of manner explain how an action is carried out. They often begin with conjunctions like as, as if, or as though. These clauses provide details on the way events happen or the manner in which actions are performed, adding depth and nuance to descriptions.

For example:

  • She dances as if no one is watching.
  • The thunder rolled as though an army was marching overhead.

Adverb Clauses of Concession/Contrast

Adverb clauses of concession describe a situation in which the outcome is contrary to what is expected or desired. These clauses are introduced by conjunctions like although, even though, while, despite, and in spite of, followed by a clause.  Some other typical examples are: whatever, whenever, wherever, even if, no matter, and whereas. They provide additional information that contrasts with the main clause.

For example:

  • Although it was raining, we decided to go for a walk. 
  • Even though she studied hard, she didn’t pass the exam. 
  • While he was at the party, he didn’t have any fun. 
  • Despite the fact that she had a headache, she went to work. 
  • No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t get it right. 
  • Wherever you go, I’ll find you! 

Reduced Adverbial Clauses

Reduced adverbial clauses are condensed versions of adverb clauses. To successfully reduce an adverb clause, the subject of the dependent (the adverb clause) and independent clause must be the same.

To reduce adverb clauses of time, follow these steps:

  1. The subject of the “full” form of the sentence should refer to the same entity as the main-clause subject, and it must be removed.
  2. Remove the form of BE—either as the main verb or as part of a progressive verb.
  3. Retain the -ing part of a progressive verb, and change a simple present or simple past verb to the -ing form.
  4. For passive voice, change the verb in the adverb clause to the past participle form (-ed form)

For example, consider the following sentence:

When Sandra graduated from university, she applied for a job.”

We can reduce the adverbial time clause and rewrite the sentence as:

Upon/After/When graduating from university, Sandra applied for a job.”

For adverb clauses of reason, you can remove the subordinating conjunction, subject, and the ‘to be’ form of a verb.

Here’s an example:

Because he was feeling hungry, he decided to eat a sandwich.”

The reduced clause in this sentence would look like:

Feeling hungry, he decided to eat a sandwich.”

Here’s an example of adverb clauses and its reduced form in passive voice: 

As he was called a liar, he decided to change school.”

The reduced clause in this sentence would look like:

Called a liar, he decided to change school.”

Use these guidelines to condense adverb clauses and present your ideas more concisely. However, be cautious when simplifying the clauses, and always ensure that the meaning is clear and accurate to avoid confusion.

Last Updated on November 13, 2023

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