What Are Relative Adverbs?
Relative adverbs function as relating structures. In other words, they connect clauses together. We have three main relative adverbs in English. Take a look at the list below:
How Do Relative Adverbs Function?
Since they can be both the subject and the object of a sentence, and also be a conjunction to connect relative clauses to nouns and pronouns in other clauses, their main functions are listed as follows:
- They introduce adjective clauses.
- They join nouns and pronouns to relative clauses.
Relative Adverbs and Adjective Clauses
When we want to start an adjective clause that describes a noun, we can use a relative adverb. The adverb gives us more information about the noun in the clause. Pay attention to the following examples:
This is the school.
I studied philosophy.
Now, let us see how we can connect these sentences and make them one:
The is the school
That was the day
Relative Adverb: Where
Where is an adverb of place and when we want to specify a location, we mainly use this relative adverb. Take a look at the following examples:
That was the hospital
As you can see, the sentence is showing the location.
Is this the café
Please note that only relative adverbs come after nouns and modify them. Otherwise, they are not relative adverbs, they are nominal relative pronouns. Compare the following examples:
Here, 'where' is a nominal relative pronoun.
That was the day
As you can see, 'when' is modifying the noun before it therefore it is a relative adverb.
Relative Adverb: When
When is an adverb of time. So, when we want to specify the time in a statement, we use this relative adverb. Let us take a look at the following examples:
I remember the time
As you can see, the sentence is referring to the time.
She cannot believe there were days
Relative Adverb: Why
Another common relative adverb among English speakers is When which is an adverb of reason. Pay attention to the following examples:
As you can see, the person is searching for a reason to find.