What Are Relative Adverbs?
Relative adverbs are adverbs that are used to introduce a dependent clause that functions as an adverbial modifier within a sentence. These adverbs are called relative because they relate the dependent clause to the rest of the sentence.
English Relative Adverbs
There are three main relative adverbs in English:
Relative Adverbs: Function
Relative adverbs are used to introduce and head a relative clause, which functions as an adverbial modifier in a sentence. They can act as either the subject or object of the clause, and they also function as a conjunction, connecting the relative clause to a nouns or pronouns in another clause.
So basically, they simultaneously fulfil two functions :
- They introduce adjective clauses.
- They join nouns or pronouns to relative clauses.
Relative Adverbs with Adjective Clauses
A relative adverb is used to introduce an adjective clause that describes a noun or pronoun in a sentence. This type of clause provides additional information about the noun or pronoun. Consider these sentences:
This is the hospital.
My mom gave birth to me.
They are both correct sentences, but if we want to join them to form a single sentence, we need a relative adverb:
This is the hospital
How Do We Spot Them in a Sentence?
To spot a relative adverb in a sentence, all you need to do is to find the relative clause. The relative adverb always introduces the relative clause. Pay attention to the example:
I remember the day
Relative Adverb of Time
'When' is a relative adverb of time that is commonly used to introduce adjective clauses that relate to time. It can replace more formal phrases, such as 'in which', 'at which', or 'on which', and is used to provide additional information about the timing or sequence of events in a sentence. Pay attention to the examples:
I remember the day
Do you remember the years
Relative Adverb of Place
'Where' is a relative adverb of place that is commonly used to introduce adjective clauses that relate to location. It can replace more formal phrases, such as 'in which' or 'at which', and is used to provide additional information about the location of a noun or pronoun in a sentence.
Here is a list of all the relative adverbs of place:
This is the restaurant
This is the city
the cliff side
Relative Adverb of Reason
'Why' is a relative adverb of reason that is commonly used to introduce adjective clauses that relate to the reason for something. It can replace the more formal phrase 'for which' and is used to provide additional information about the cause or motivation behind an action or event in a sentence. For example:
There is no reason
To become acquainted with relative adverbs, it is important to know what relative clauses are. Relative clauses give extra information about the main clause. Relative adverbs come before the relative clause. Here are the main relative adverbs:
- When: to refer to time
- Where: to refer to locations and places
- Why: to refer to reasons
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