Adverbs of Clause

What are Adverbial Clauses?

First, it’s important to understand dependent clauses. Dependent clauses are groups of words that have subjects and verbs but don’t possess a complete idea or thought. They’re classified into three kinds: noun clauses, relative clauses, and adverbial clauses.

Noun clauses can take the place of any function of nouns: subjects, objects, and subject complements. For example:

  • It took me a moment to remember where I was.

The noun clause “where I was” functions as an indirect object to the verb “remember.” Relative clauses give more information about nouns in a sentence. For example:

  • The bag that Kyle gave me is expensive.

The relative clause that Kyle gave me describes the subject “bag.”

Adverbial clauses (also, adverb clauses) modify verbs in sentences. For example:

  • Before we called him, we made sure Tai Hung had no idea about the surprise party.

The adverbial clause before we called him modifies the verb made sure, which answers the question when.

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Adverbial clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions and answer the questions when, where, why, and how. Let’s take a look at more examples in the following table.

Adverbial Clauses Examples
Subordinating Conjunctionas soon aswhereeven ifno matter how
Example SentencesYou may leave as soon as you finish the quiz.Sheila knows the owner of the restaurant where you ate.Even if you work twice as hard, you won’t keep up with her.No matter how long they look, it was hard to see the area.
Table of Adverbial Clauses Examples
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Adverbial Clauses Rules

Adverbial clauses are used to describe or modify verbs in sentences.The glass broke where they eat at the office. Suzy ran because she was frightened. They hid behind the trees.
Adverbial clauses can also describe or modify adjectives in sentences.  They were certain that Bobby will ruin the surprise. It’s fun when you know what you’re doing. He was sure that he won’t get caught.
Adverbial clauses of degree and manner may be used in comparisons.Adverbial clauses of degree in comparison: The group expected Paula to arrive later than anyone else did. He covered more ground in the evening hours than he covered in the morning. Adverbial clauses of manner in comparison: Her painting was finished just as fast as she promised. The investigation was conducted as straightforwardly as they had hoped.
Table of Rules for Adverbial Clauses
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Examples of Adverbial Clauses

1. Where Yoona vacuumed, Bogum would follow with a polishing mop.

2. Because you performed very well academically this year, I’ll buy you a dog.

3. He prepares the kids’ lunch in the morning before they get out of bed.

4. Since we knew the bus was running late, we thought that we could get coffee nearby.

5. We’re throwing you a birthday party whether you like it or not.

6. The car that we rented last week was way over our budget.

7. I have no idea where I left my phone.

8. Okay, we’ll visit them as long as you behave.

9. After she got home, Katsa received a phone call from one of her cousins.

10. Even though she grew up by the beach, she can’t swim well.

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Adverbial Clauses Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Adverbial Clauses

Complete the sentences by choosing the correct subordinating conjunction to finish the adverbial clause.

1. I think Dianne dances as gracefully _______________ Trixie.
A. so
B. as
C. than

2. Carla was too exhausted _______________ she couldn’t speak.
A. that
B. unless
C. since

3. Gia hid in the cupboard _______________ her friends won’t find her.
A. why
B. when
C. where

4. Leo studies hard _______________ he would ace the exam.
A. as
B. so
C. that

5. You’ll be in so much trouble _______________ you don’t spill the beans.
A. until
B. whether
C. if


1. B: I think Dianne dances as gracefully as Trixie.

2. A: Carla was too exhausted that she couldn’t speak.

3. C: Gia hid in the cupboard where her friends won’t find her.

4. B: Leo studies hard so he would ace the exam.

5. C: You’ll be in so much trouble if you don’t spill the beans.

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Adverbial Clauses List

The following is a list of subordinating conjunctions that begins adverbial clauses, classified according to their adverbial functions.

Subordinating Conjunctions List
Adverbial Clauses of MannerAdverbial Clauses of TimeAdverbial Clauses of PlaceAdverbial Clauses of ReasonAdverbial Clauses of Degree
as if
as far as
as long as
as though
in that
no matter how
as soon as
where whereverbecause
even if
even though
in case that
so that
as … as
so … as
Table of Subordinating Conjunctions
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Modifiers are words that enrich sentences with greater depth and explanation, allowing them to communicate more clearly. Adjectives and adverbs are both utilized for this same purpose, giving adverbs an important role in expressing the implications, value, or meaning that sentences try to convey. Adverbial clauses are groups of words that have the same function. They’re used to create complex sentences, which is a more advanced component of English grammar. To master adverbial clause usage, English language learners must gain knowledge on how to utilize them properly. You can do this by understanding their application in sentence construction, remembering spelling rules, and consistent practice.

Common Errors Made by English Learners

English language learners make common errors when it comes to adverbial clauses. The most common is confusing which type of clause is used or should be used. Additionally, many English language learners struggle with the correct position of adverbial clauses in sentences, affecting the meaning of what they’re trying to express or making their sentences look or sound awkward. The best way to avoid these errors is to become familiar with how adverbial clauses are utilized by learning, using, and reviewing 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 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.
Table of Common Errors with Adverbial Clauses
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Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Adverbial Clauses

The best methods to improve and develop mastery in using adverbial clauses are the following: 

  • Train yourself in distinguishing the different types of clauses.
  • Familiarize the placement of adverbial clauses in sentences.
  • Study the functions of the words that the clauses 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.
Table of Learning Strategies for Adverbial Clauses
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Adverbial Clauses Frequently Asked Questions

1. Our relationship is stronger than it ever was. (modifies the adjective “stronger”)
2. My cousin was sure that he would be able to fix my phone. (modifies the adjective “sure”)
3. Watching movies is exciting when you like the actors. (modifies the adjective “exciting”)
4. Are you certain that he didn’t come by the office today? (modifies the adjective “certain”)
5. Roxie is kind when there are cameras filming her. (modifies the adjective “kind”)

Here are the five common types of adverbs with examples:
1. Adverbial Clauses of Reason (answers the question “why?”)
Examples: because, even if, even though, in case that, since, so that, why

2. Adverbial Clauses of Manner (answers the question “how?”)
Examples: as, as if, as far as, as long as, as though, unless, in that, no matter how

3. Adverbial Clauses of Place (answers the question “where?”)
Examples: where, wherever

4. Adverbial Clauses of Degree (answers the question “to what extent?”)
Examples: as, as … as, so … as, than

5. Adverbial Clauses of Time (answers the question “when?”)
Example: as soon as, after, before, once, until, while, till, once

The Affirmation or Negation adverbial classifications distinguish the positive and negative meanings of adverbs. Some examples of affirmative adverbs reinforce positive meanings such as surely, definitely, certainly, etc. Their negative counterparts are never, nowhere, scarcely, etc.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Affirmation:

1. Freddie obviously hates to see you like this.
2. He’ll certainly return to the club.
3. They’ll never repeat that mistake.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Negation:

1. Clark’s car keys were nowhere to be found.
2. Andrea never aimed to offend the churchgoers.
3. You barely recognize the samples in your lab.

Modifiers describe parts of speech, particularly nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, changing the meaning of the sentences. They also provide more explanations to describe a situation, action, or thing fluently. Adjectives and adverbs (along with clauses used for the same functions) are the most common examples of modifiers.

An adjective clause or relative clause is a group of words that describe nouns in complex sentences. Here are some examples, with the adjective clause in bold and the noun it modifies in italics:

1. The play that sold out this weekend wasn’t so good.
2. People who don’t like pizza are weird.
3. Let’s visit a place that has snow.
4. Her reasons for visiting the temple aren’t clear.
5. They like living in a house with a high ceiling and huge windows.

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