As you know, clauses have subjects and verbs. Adverbial clauses are clauses that function as the adverb of the sentence.
What Are Adverbial Clauses?
Adverbial clauses are dependent clauses that modify the main verb in the independent clauses. They start with a subordinating conjunction and in order to make sense, they must connect to an independent clause.
Adverbial Clauses: Characteristics
Let's look at four main characteristics of adverbial clauses:
- Adverbial clauses are adjuncts. (We can remove them without the sentence being grammatically wrong.)
- Adverbial clauses are dependent clauses. (They cannot form a meaningful sentence on their own.)
- Adverbial clauses normally start with a subordinating conjunction.
- Adverbial clauses must have a subject and a verb.
Adverbial Clauses: Types
Adverbial clauses modify the main verb of the independent clause by answering one of these questions or talking about one of these topics:
Adverbial clauses of place talk about where something happens. They often start with a preposition of place or some subordinating conjunctions of place like:
We can go
He was standing
When or How Often
Adverbial clauses of time talk about when or how often something happens. They start with subordinating conjunctions of time such as:
We can go outside to play
Adverbial clauses of manner talk about how something is done or happens. They start with subordinating conjunctions of manner like:
He looked at me
She talked to me
Adverbial clauses of reason, purpose, and result talk about why the action of the sentence happens and what is the result. They start with one of the following subordinating conjunctions:
- Reason: because, since, as, given
- Purpose: in order to, so that, in order that, in case
- Results: so...that, such...that
To What Degree
Adverbial clauses of degree talk about to what degree something happens or talks anout a comparison. They start with subordinating conjunctions of degree and comparison such as:
Tipping a waiter is more common
Adverbial clauses of condition talk about the condition stated in the main clause. They start with subordinating conjunctions of condition such as:
They can come with us
Brian will not sleep
Adverbial clauses of concession or supposition talk about contrasts. They start with one of the following subordinating conjunctions:
I cannot accept that,
She must be about 30,
Adverbial Clauses: Structure
Adverbial Clauses: Punctuation
When the adverbial clause is at the beginning of a sentence, use a comma afterward. This comma shows where the adverbial clause ends and the main clause starts.
Even though he never went to college, he owns a thriving business.
When the adverbial clause is at the end of a sentence, it is more complicated. Because it depends on whether the adverbial clause is essential (also called restrictive) or non-essential (also called non-restrictive).
- When it is essential, do not use a comma.
- When it is non-essential, use a comma.
He said he was happy where he was.
I used to read a lot, though I don't have much time for books now.
Adverbial Clause vs. Adverbial Phrase
An adverb clause must have a subject and a predicate. An adverb phrase does not have a subject and a predicate:
|Adverbial Clause||Adverbial Phrase|
|if it rains||after the game|
|when he met his wife||in two weeks|
|before she goes to bed||really nice|
Adverbial clauses are dependent clauses that modify the main verb in the independent clauses. They start with a subordinating conjunction and in order to make sense, they must connect to an independent clause. Adverbial clauses are used to answer the following questions or to express following concepts:
- when or how often
- To what degree
- to express condition
- to express concession