Adverbs of Cause and Effect

What are Adverbs of Cause and Effect?

There are two kinds of adverbs that can show “cause and effect” relationships:

  • Adverbial Clauses
  • Conjunctive Adverbs

An adverbial clause is a dependent clause that begins with a subordinating conjunction and modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb in the independent clause. The following are some common examples of subordinating conjunctions that start an adverbial clause:

  • Although
  • Because
  • Despite
  • When
  • While

Let’s read example sentences of complex sentences with adverbial clauses:

Independent clauseSubordinating conjunctionThe rest of the adverbial clause
They were exhaustedbecausethey’ve been dancing for two hours.
James reported for dutydespitehim being sick with the flu.
Adverbial Clasues Table of Examples

(Note: the dependent clause can be put at the beginning of the complex sentence followed by a comma.)

On the other hand, conjunctive adverbs (also, adverbial conjunctions in some books) are words or phrases that start independent clauses connected to other clauses. They come after semi-colons or periods and are followed by commas. The following are some common examples of conjunctive adverbs that start an independent clause:

  • However
  • Therefore
  • As a result
  • Consequently
  • For this reason

Let’s read example sentences with independent clauses connected by conjunctive adverbs:

Independent clauseConjunctive AdverbThe rest of the adverbial clause
Our group was in charge of the venue.Meanwhile,their team took charge of the sound system.
Carol was furious;however,she was able to maintain her composure.
Conjunctive Clauses Table of Examples
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Adverbs of Cause and Effect Rules

Two Independent ClausesWhen separating two independent clauses, a period or semicolon is always used before the conjunctive adverb. Conjunctive adverbs cannot be connected to independent clauses without the proper punctuation to support them.
  Punctuation  A comma is necessary when conjunctive adverbs appear at the beginning of a sentence’s second clause. It’s used after the clause. Punctuation isn’t needed for monosyllabic adverbs.
Conjunctive Adverb in the Middle of a ClauseThis isn’t required in some cases and when the clauses are short, but if a conjunctive adverb appears in the middle of a clause, commas should enclose it. 
Although and HoweverRemember not to mix the usage of these words. An error is easy to make as they have very similar meanings. But although is used for dependent clauses (adverbial clauses) and however is used as a conjunctive adverb for independent clauses.
Adverbs of Cause and Effect Rules

Examples of Adverbs of Cause and Effect

1. He wanted to attend the part; however, his mother said he couldn’t go.

2. It’s a faster solution. On the other hand, it requires more work.

3. As the rain was heavy, classes were suspended in the district.

4. Bea likes Harold a lot; in fact, I think she’s in love with him.

5. Keiran doesn’t listen to rap music because he finds it noisy and annoying.

6. Ronski kept interrupting the class so he got sent to the principal’s office.

7. We stayed a long time at the store because the brand she likes was hard to find.

8. Since you left for college, your mom and I have been thinking about selling the house.

9. Despite being friends for years, Lina never sent Osha a letter after she moved.

10. Naya has been neglecting her tasks. Consequently, the boss decided to let her go.

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Adverbs of Cause and Effect Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Adverbs of Cause and Effect

Complete each sentence by choosing the best answer: 

1. The wooden porch has been heavily waterlogged over the years; ____________, it will need to be renovated.

A. for example

B. eventually

C. however

D. even though

2. You need to produce more output; ________________ you’ll fail the performance review.

A. Otherwise

B. Unless

C. Instead

D. Moreover

3. Spending the weekend in a mountain cabin sounds divine; ________________, a white-sand beach sounds great as well.

A. indeed

B. therefore

C. as a result

D. on the other hand

4. They planned to drive downtown; ______________________, they busted a tire so they took the bus.

A. in addition

B. moreover

C. however

D. unless

5. Lester is really kind; __________________, his twin sister Georgina has a mean streak.

A. in contrast

B. though

C. accordingly

D. similarly


1. B: The wooden porch has been heavily waterlogged over the years; eventually, it will need to be renovated.

2. A: You need to produce more output; otherwise, you’ll fail the performance review.

3. D. Spending the weekend in a mountain cabin sounds divine; on the other hand, a white-sand beach sounds great as well.

4. C. They planned to drive downtown; however, they busted a tire so they took the bus.

5. A. Lester is really kind; in contrast, his twin sister Georgina has a mean streak.

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Adverbs of Cause and Effect List

Subordinating Conjunctions for Adverbial Clauses of Cause and EffectConjunctive Adverbs or Adverbial Conjunctions
due to
provided that
because of
so/so that
in spite of
as a result
for this reason
as a consequence
because of this
Adverbs of Cause and Effect Examples Table

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Sentences can be enriched with further clarification and explanation when descriptive words are added, allowing them to relay their message more accurately. Adjectives and adverbs are both applied for this reason, making adverbial clauses of cause and effect important when trying to illustrate the implications or meaning that sentences strive to communicate. Clauses are used to craft complex sentences, which is a somewhat more sophisticated element of English grammar. To get proficient at using adverbial clauses English language students must become aware of how to employ them suitably. You can master this by learning their use in sentence formation, remaining mindful of spelling rules, and practicing regularly.
Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand adverbs of affirmation and adverbs of clause.

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Common Errors Made by English Learners

English language students often make mistakes when dealing with adverbial phrases of cause and effect. The most normal is not knowing which kind of phrase is necessary or used. Moreover, many English language learners have difficulty locating or placing adverbial clauses in sentences appropriately. This error influences the desired message of the sentence or makes it look or sound clumsy. To prevent these slips, one must get familiar with how to make use of adverbial clauses by studying, utilizing, and correctly identifying their functions.

Common ErrorsExplanation
Wrong ClauseRemember that there are three types of dependent clauses. Relative clauses (also, adjective clauses) modify any nouns in the independent clause of a complex sentence. Meanwhile, adverbial clauses modify the main verb of the independent clause.
PlacementAdverbial clauses need commas if they come before the main subject and verb or if they act as an introduction. In short, adverbial clauses at the beginning of sentences or independent clauses need commas after. If adverbial clauses are at the end of the sentences after the main subject and verb, no comma is needed.
FormSubordinating conjunctions always start adverbial clauses. It signifies that the clause doesn’t have a complete idea or thought and should therefore be attached to an independent clause to comprise a complete sentence.
Adverbs of Cause and Effect Common Errors Table

Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Adverbs of Cause and Effect

The most effective ways to improve and develop mastery in using adverbial clauses of cause and effect are the following:

  • Training yourself in identifying the distinction between the different types of clauses.
  • Applying the correct placement of adverbial clauses in sentences.
  • Studying the functions of the words that the adverbial clauses describe or modify.
Learning StrategiesExplanation
Language ListsLists can show language forms and sentence examples, making any grammatical concept easier to see, remember, and use.
Language ExposureReading, audio, and video materials are great resources to help broaden your vocabulary and see how native speakers use English in a variety of contexts, topics, and areas of expertise. You can also learn the difference between formal and informal English.
Language ExchangeUse what you’ve learned in daily conversations with fellow learners and English-speaking friends. This will eventually make you sound more confident and natural, and also use the English language with ease.
Adverbs of Cause Best Practices Table
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Adverbs of Cause and Effect Frequently Asked Questions

A dependent clause is a group of words or a phrase that always begins with a subordinating conjunction and doesn’t have a complete thought or idea. It’s a sentence fragment. In contrast, an independent clause is the same as a sentence. The terms independent and dependent clauses are typically used when a complex sentence is involved, which is a combination of two or more independent clauses or one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

While both adverbial clauses and phrases function as adverbs, an adverbial clause contains a subject and a verb, while an adverbial phrase does not.

Here are examples of adverbial phrases:

– She knew Martin through me.
– John arrived at the party with some wine.

Here are examples of adverbial clauses:

– She knew Martin because I introduced them.
– John arrived at the party with the wine I bought.

As modifiers, adverbs can provide emphasis when used to start sentences. Also, you need a conjunctive adverb or adverbial conjunction to connect two main ideas or independent clauses that relate to each other. 

Conjunctive adverbs connect two independent clauses and cannot function as subordinating conjunctions. Conjunctive adverbs connect two independent clauses that are related in meaning.

1. Because the party was boring, we left after thirty minutes.

2. Instead of buying the console, Jinn decided to save his money.

3. Although Margot is the better runner, her nerves cost her the gold.

4. In case the storm hits the county, Peter’s family decided to evacuate.

5. Unless they agree to her terms, Lilian will not sign the contract.

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