Adverbial Clause: Subordinate Clause As Adverb
Sometimes, writing short and simple is not the best way to get a message across, especially when there is so much that needs to be known. Necessity compels you to find the right words, even though this would mean there would be many words.
Adverbs are most effective and useful in these situations. They add context and clarity to thought. Instead of following a sentence with another sentence when writing, an adverbial clause is an option that would be more convenient and fitting.
In this blog, you will learn about adverbial clauses, their different types, and its difference compared to adverbial phrases.
What is an adverbial clause?
An adverbial clause is a group of words that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. It basically shares the same function as an adverb in general, only it is in clause form. Take note that an adverbial clause will always be a dependent clause because it is a modifier, and so it always follows after an independent clause.
Any adverbial clause has three elements. First, it contains a subject and a verb. Second, it contains a subordinating conjunction, which ensures that the clause does not turn into a complete thought. And lastly, it contains what answers the adverb question When? Where? Why? and How?
Here are examples of adverbial clauses:
- He will play basketball once he finishes his homework. (When?)
- She will go wherever with you. (Where?)
- Princess ran away because her mother scolded her. (Why?)
- The teacher explained chemical reactions through an experiment. (How?)
Between independent and dependent clauses, the adverbial clause starts with the subordinating conjunction. This connects both clauses to form a single, cohesive, rich sentence. To identify an adverbial clause in a sentence, it is helpful to look out for the subordinating conjunction.
Here are common subordinating conjunctions used in adverbial clauses:
Once you start distinguishing the adverbial clause in a sentence, you will see how it adds interesting value and substance about a place, time, manner, certainty, frequency, and other circumstances of an activity denoted by the verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs in the sentence.
Adverbial Clause vs Adverbial Phrase
While the adverbial clause and adverbial phrase are often misunderstood as the same thing, they are actually different adverbs. Their difference simply lies in their form – clause, and phrase. Both are a group of words. However, a clause has a subject-verb unit. Meanwhile, a phrase does not.
The following are examples that would show their difference. Remember to look out for the subject-verb unit.
|Adverbial Clause||Adverbial Phrase|
|group of words, functioning as adverbs, with a subject-verb unit||group of words, functioning as adverbs, without a subject-verb unit|
|Examples: Joshua broke his arms before we even had a chance to bike together. Joshua has been acting like a stranger since we had a small fight last New Year’s Day.||Examples: Joshua broke his arms a week before. Joshua has been acting like a stranger since New Year’s Day.|
Types of Adverbial Clause Based on the Function of Conjunctions
An adverbial clause is a type of subordinate clause that functions as an adverb, modifying the main clause to provide additional information regarding time, place, manner, condition, or reason. There are eight types of adverbial clauses according to the meaning and function of conjunctions:
|Type Of Adverbial Clause||Function||Common Conjunctions||Examples|
|Adverbial Clause of Manner||Address how something is done||as, as if, like||He was presented as someone who was trustworthy. She talked to me as if we didn’t fight last night. They run like death was chasing them.|
|Adverbial Clause of Place||Addressing location||where, wherever, somewhere||They visited the place where they had once been happy. My cat always follows Dana wherever she goes. Mike went out somewhere his friends couldn’t find him.|
|Adverbial Clause of Time||Addressing time||until, before, after, as long as, while||Jena didn’t wash the dishes until her mother went home. My mother gave me a car before I turned eighteen. After the rain stopped, we went outside to play. As long as you’re happy, I’m happy too. My cat went out while I was sleeping.|
|Adverbial Clause of Condition||Addressing possible consequences or situations||if, unless, provided that, whether||I will forgive him if he admits his mistake and apologizes. He can’t attend the concert unless his parents allow him to go. We can go out provided that we come home before midnight. I don’t know whether I should tell him the truth or not.|
|Adverbial Clause of Degree or Comparison||Addressing extent; also shows a comparison||as, more than, less than||She is as beautiful as the sun setting on a summer evening. Purchasing pantry supplies in bulk is efficient more than buying them in small quantities. His grades this semester is subpar less than what he achieved last semester.|
|Adverbial Clause of Reason or Cause and Effect||Addressing reason, relationship, and consequence||because, so, since||My father was furious because my brother lied. We need to save money so we can afford the trip. The doctor advised him to rest since his blood pressure was dangerously high.|
|Adverbial Clause of Purpose||Addressing intent, motive||so that, in order to, lest||She worked two jobs so that she could make ends meet. You need to sauté the vegetables in order to bring out their flavor. He ran away lest he got caught by the police.|
|Adverbial Clause of Concession||Addressing acknowledgment, admitting a point||while, although, even though, even if||While your opinion holds weight, I believe that nation-building is a crucial factor in creating a strong and prosperous society. I used to exercise daily although I was too busy to do so. Even though I’m not an expert, I think this plan is feasible. He will still love you even if you make mistakes.|
Adverbial Clause Exercises with Answers
A. Select the appropriate subordinating conjunction to complete the sentences below.
1. She was so tired ________ she could barely keep her eyes open. (even though, that, while)
2. Henry will go to the party ________ his friends will be there. (so that, because, unless)
3. ____________ it’s safe to swim in the lake, it is not advisable to do so during the night. (Although, Because, Since.
4. He was jogging _______ his friend biked beside him. (even if, while, whenever)
5. Darla avoided hiking alone _________ the day a stranger harassed her. (as if, before, since)
B. Identify whether the following sentences are adverbial clauses or adverbial phrases.
1. The child walked carefully in the crowded park.
2. He did not talk to me since yesterday.
3. As if the world was crumbling, she made a run for the exit to escape.
4. I’m angry because of him.
5. You need to wake up early so that you can catch the bus.
1. She was so tired that she could barely keep her eyes open.
2. Henry will go to the party because his friends will be there. (so that, because, unless)
3. Although it’s safe to swim in the lake, it is not advisable to do so at night. (Although, Because, Since.
4. He was jogging _while his friend biked beside him.
5. Darla avoided hiking alone since the day a stranger harassed her.
1. adverbial phrase
2. adverbial phrase
3. adverbial clause
4. adverbial phrase
5. adverbial clause
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
The main function of language is to communicate ideas and feelings. Adverbial clauses are an important part of this communication process, as they help to express relationships between ideas and events. As an ESL student, it is important to understand how to use adverbial clauses correctly to communicate effectively your thoughts and feelings.
The components of English grammar may be confusing — adverbial clauses and adverbial phrases sound the same. However, going back to the basics and understanding the function of each part of speech can help you understand how to use adverbial clauses correctly. Additionally, practice is key — try writing sentences with adverbial clauses and ask a native speaker or teacher to review your work. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand questions answered by adverbs and position of adverbs.
Common Mistakes Made by English Learners
English learners often make mistakes when using adverbial clauses. The most common mistake is confusing adverbial clauses with adverbial phrases. Adverbial phrases do not contain a subject and verb, while adverbial clauses do.
Additionally, English learners may forget to include the subordinating conjunction that introduces the clause or use an incorrect one. Take for example the sentences below:
(1) He does not want to attend the event, it is expensive.
(2) He does not want to attend the event because it is expensive.
The first sentence sounds disjointed due to the lack of a subordinate conjunction. Therefore, it is important to connect two ideas with a subordinate conjunction.
Finally, some learners may forget to include the comma that separates the adverbial clause from the main clause. This happens when the adverbial clause is placed at the beginning of the sentence, as in:
- When he went out of his way to help me, I was very grateful and told him how much I appreciated his assistance.
- Because of the virus, people have been asked to stay home.
The case of joining two clauses with a comma is called a comma splice. Learners must avoid this common mistake for clarity of their writing.
Learning Adverbial Clause Strategies and Best Practices
Reading is a great way to acquire knowledge. As English Language Learners, reading books, newspapers, and magazines can help you understand how to use adverbial clauses correctly. Additionally, there are some strategies and best practices that can help you become more proficient in using adverbial clauses:
• Understand the function of each part of speech. English grammar is a broad topic that is made easy to learn by learning the function of each word. When you familiarize yourself with common terminologies and knowledge of the parts of speech, you can better understand how to construct sentences and communicate effectively.
• Practice writing sentences with adverbial clauses. Learning by doing is an effective way to test and gauge your knowledge. As such, after reading about adverbial clauses, picking up a pen and paper and practicing writing sentences with adverbial clauses can help you become more familiar with the structure and usage of adverbial clauses.
• Ask a native speaker or teacher to review your work. Having someone who is proficient in English review your work can be beneficial as they can provide feedback on any mistakes you may have made and suggest ways to improve your writing.
Adverbial Clause Frequently Asked Questions
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