Adverb Clause Definition and Types with Examples

Adverb Clause Definition and Types with Examples

Why Adverb Clauses? 

Sometimes, an English sentence might make complete sense, but we still need to add a little extra detail that further explain an idea in a sentence. In most cases, a single word (adverb) that qualifies different parts of speech work perfectly in a sentence. But many times, we will need to have more than just an adverb in our sentences. We use adverb clauses that add explanatory detail to our writing in such cases. For example, read the sentence ‘The man will wait for me.’ These words group has its own subject and predicate, i.e., it is a complete sentence. But this sentence didn’t tell how long the man needed to wait for me. In this case, we will need to add some more words to clarify it.
The man will wait for me until I get back from the shop.
The information we have added to the main clause clearly tells how long the man should wait. Thus, the second part begins with ‘until‘ is an adverb clause.
In this article, you’ll learn the complete concept of adverb clauses, the types of adverb clauses with examples, and the use of different subordinating conjunction to form adverb clauses.

Adverb Clause Definition

An adverb clause (also called adverbial clause) is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate and behave as an adverb, i.e., modifies a verb in the main clause, an adjective, or another adverb. It answers question like when, how, where, why, under what condition, or to what extent.
Remember that an adverbial clause has a subject and a predicate like a simple sentence, but it is a type of subordinate clause.
Compare the following two sentences.
I visited the library today.
I visited the library before my friends came.
In the first sentence, the word today is an adverb that answers the question when, i.e., it modifies the verb visited.
In the second, the group of words ‘before my friends came‘ does the same function as the single word did in the first sentence, but it has the subject ‘my friends’ and the verb ‘came.’ This is known as an adverb clause.
You have seen an adverbial clause consisting of three parts
(1) The Subjectsomeone or something the sentence is about.
(2) The Predicate(verb)expresses what the subject does.
(3) Subordinating Conjunctionconnect it to the independent/main clause (rest of the sentence).
Complete it before you leave.
Subject: you
Verb: leave
Conjunction: before (connect it to the main clause, i.e., complete it)

Adverb Clause Examples 

  • He will come tomorrow. (Adverb)
  • He will come after he has been to the shops. (Adverb Clause)
  • The baby eats mango because she likes it. (why he eats)
  • The older lady goes for a walk if the weather permits. (under what conditions she go for a walk)
  • We played football as though we were in a hurry. (how we play)
  • She goes to the park whenever she likes. (when she goes)
  • I visit every museum wherever I travel. (where I visit)
  • She studies mathematics more than we do. (how much more)
  • He failed the paper because he didn’t attempt all the questions. (why she failed)
  • My cousin is confident that he will pass the exam.
     (The adverb clause that she will pass the test modifies the adjective confident.)
  • The team played better than we did.
(The adverb clause than we did modifies the adverb better.)
  • Although he is happy in our home, he still misses his home.
  • I left the United Kingdom because I wanted to improve my family’s lives.
(because introduces the clause and tells the reason why I left the United Kingdom)

Commas with Adverb Clauses

An adverb clause usually comes in three positions in a sentence. A comma needs to be placed when it comes at the front or middle position in a sentence. But when it comes at the end, no comma is necessary.
  • Even if I didn’t see my son, I could still imagine his look.
    (The adverb clause comes at the beginning, so a comma goes after it)
  • The man, although he is very clever, didn’t deal with me.
    (The adverb clause comes in the middle, so we use two commas to separate it)
  • The family treated us as if we were a stranger.
   (Since the adverb clause comes at the end, so we do not need to use a comma)

Using Subordinating Conjunctions in Adverb Clauses

An adverb clause is a subordinate/dependent clause that we usually begin using suitable subordinating conjunction. The subordinating conjunctions connect the clause and the rest of the sentence. The following is the list of some common subordinating conjunctions that begin a subordinate adverb clause.
  • After
  • Before
  • Because
  • So that
  • As long as
  • As though
  • Since
  • When
  • Whenever
  • As if
  • Though
  • Although
  • Than
  • Where
  • Wherever
  • In order that
  • Unless
  • Whether
  • Provided that
  • Until
  • While

The Function and Types of Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses can do multiple functions in a sentence. Based on the varying function of adverb clauses in a sentence, it can be classified into the following types.
Types of Adverb Cluase

Adverb Clause of Time

An adverb clause of time answer to the question when. It tells us when something happens or will happen. A comma is used when the clause precedes the main clause. The following is the list of conjunctions that usually begin an adverb clause of time.
  • While
  • When
  • Whenever
  • Before
  • After
  • Hardly
  • As
  • As soon as
  • As long as
  • No sooner
  • Than
  • The moment that
  • Once
  • Till
  • Until
  • Since
  • That
  • By the time
  • Always polish your shoes before you leave for the office.
  • My dad calls me when he is happy.
  • Cats are cute while they are young.
  • He waited on the park road until we arrived.

Adverb Clause of Place

An adverb clause of the place says when something happens or will happen. The common subordinating conjunctions used to form adverb clauses of place are where, anywhere, wherever, and everywhere.
  • You can sleep wherever you want to sleep.
  • She can sleep wherever she likes.
  • I don’t know whence she came.
  • Go where you like.

Adverb Clause of Condition

The adverb clause of condition describes the condition necessary for specific actions to happen. We usually begin this type of clause using the following subordinating conjunctions.
  • If
  • Provided
  • Unless
  • So long as
  • In the event
  • Whether or not
  • The administration will allow you inside, provided you bring the original documents.
  • If you lack wisdom, don’t expect success.
  • Unless they have returned, don’t phone them.

Adverb Clause of Manner

An adverb clause of manner tells us the way in which something is done or said. We use the conjunctions how, like, however, as, as if, and as though.
  • They must put the rock precisely as I told them.
  • Combine the pieces together as the teacher showed you.
  • She spends her own money as she likes.
  • Say it as if you meant it.

Adverb Clause of Reason 

An adverb clause of reason describes why something happens or why it should happen or will happen. Common subordinating conjunctions used to form this type of clause are because, because of, due to, the reason for, in case, as, seeing, seeing as, seeing that, since, and so.
  • As it was raining, they decided not to play cricket.
  • The girl went outside her home so she could be alone.
  • I want to take my umbrella in case it rains.
  • We are going on a picnic since our exam is finished.
  • The fact that I had missed the bus was the reason for me being delayed.

Adverb Clause of Purpose

The adverb clause of purpose describes why something is happening. It states the purpose or aim of something that is happening rather than the reason for it or the cause of it. Conjunctions used to introduce this type of clause are so, so that and in order that, in order to, etc.
  • I opened a new bank account so that I might build a new house.
  • Step aside in order that he can pass.
  • His dad went to the USA in order to earn a lot of money.

Adverb Clause of Result

An adverb clause of result is usually introduced by that, so, as a result, consequently, as a consequence, therefore, hence, etc., and tells us what result from something happening. The conjunction ‘that’ connects the adverb clause of result to a so and such in the main clause.
  • It rained so much that the road was flooded.
  • The student broke the window, therefore he was fined.
  • He is such as a nice man that everybody like him.

Adverbial Clause of Contrast

An adverbial clause of contrast describes something that differs from the idea expressed in the main clause. We use the conjunctions but, though, even though, although, whereas, whatever, however, in spite of, however, nevertheless, and even if to introduce such clause.
  • She always goes for a morning walk even though she hates it.
  • Although he doesn’t take any classes, Sana always gets the first position.
  • However ugly he was, the girl loved him.
  • I left his house despite the weather being cold.

Adverb Clause of Comparison

We use the adverb clause of comparison between things mentioned in the main and subordinate clauses. We introduce an adverb clause of comparison using as or than.
  • My son can play better than his son can.
  • I work less than he does.
  • He is not as niggard as he looks.
  • Watch movies as much as you like.

Adverb Clause of Concession 

This type of adverbial clause may imply that something is surprising about what is said in the main clause in the light of what is being said in the subordinate clause. We introduce the adverb clause of concession using the conjunctions such as though, even though, although, if, even if, etc.
  • Even if you don’t like the man, you should reasonably treat him.
  • Though he is a man in a million, he never gives himself airs.
  • Although we forbade this, they have done it.

How Do You Identify an Adverb Clause?

An adverb clause always begins with subordinating conjunction that introduces it—some of the most common conjunctions listed above. To identify an adverbial clause, you need to look for three things, i.e., conjunction, a subject, and a predicate. If these three parts exist, check whether the group of words containing these three parts modifies any verb, adjective, or adverb; if yes, then that group of words is an adverb clause. For example, take the following sentence.
He cleaned the car as the manager had shown him.
This sentence, ‘as the manager had shown him,’ tells us how he cleaned the car. It is composed of the subject ‘the manager,’ and the predicate ‘had shown him’ and begin with the conjunction ‘as,’ and the whole clause modifies the verb cleaned in the main clause. So, it is an adverbial clause that tells us about manner.
Remember, an adverbial clause will always tell you about the time, condition, place, comparison, reason, purpose, or concession of the verb in the main clause.

Difference Between Adverb Phrase and Adverb Clause

Adverb Phrase: It consists of two or more words that function as an adverb, but it does not have a subject and a predicate.
Adverb Clause: It also consists of two or more words that function as an adverb, but it has a subject and a predicate.
Adverb Phrase: Adverb phrases often take prepositions at the beginning.
Example: I will get there in an hour.
Adverb Clause: Adverb clauses often take subordinating conjunctions to introduce them.
Example: He studied all night so she would pass the paper.
Adverb PhraseAdverb Clause
They did their best to please us.They did their best so that they might to please us.
Being in a hurry, we could not wait anymoreWe could not wait anymore because we were in a hurry.
May you succeed everywhere!May you succeed wherever you go!
On seeing my brother, ask him to contact me.When you see my brother, ask him to contact me.

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