Adverb Clause of Purpose

Adverb Clause of Purpose Definition

An adverb clause of purpose tells us why something happens or will happen or why it should happen. It explains why someone does something.

  • I appreciate his effort because he is an inspiration to many students.

The main clause in this sentence is ‘I appreciate his effort‘ The second part is introduced by the conjunction ‘because’ tells the reason or purpose for the situation expressed in the first part. A comma must be placed if the adverb clause of purpose appears before the main clause.

The following subordinating conjunctions are used to begin an adverb clause of purpose. Some conjunctions, such as seeing that, in order that, etc., consist of several words, and are called complex conjunctions.

Adverb Clause of Purpose
  • because
  • as
  • in case
  • since
  • seeing
  • so
  • so that
  • so as to
  • seeing as
  • seeing that
  • in order that
  • in order to
  • to
  • in case
  • lest

Examples Adverb Clause of Purpose

  • We went to the restaurant so that we could enjoy dinner. (why do we go to the restaurant? The subordinate clause tells the purpose)
  • As it was getting dark, we decided we should leave the workplace earlier.
  • Work hard lest you should fail.
  • The children stay quiet lest they should be noticed.
  • She ran away lest she should be seen.
  • She could visit Ali, seeing that she has to drive past his office anyway.
  • I didn’t buy shoes for all the children so as to save some money.
  • We decided not to go on a picnic because it was raining.
  • They are going outside to play since their homework is finished.
  • My brother didn’t sleep all night for fear that he might miss his paper.
  • Since they were going to be living in London for some weeks, they thought they should know something about the city.
  • I took some pieces of bread with me in case I got hungry.

Clauses of Purpose Examples

The modal verb in the adverb clause of purpose is followed by an infinitive when the verb main clause is in the present or future.

  • He works hard in order that he may succeed.
  • This man risks his life so that his family may live more safely.

We use might followed by an infinitive when the main verb is in the past simple tense.

  • We were leaving early in order that we might not be late.
  • They left early so that they might catch the bus.
  • Most of the students moved to the front chairs in order that they might understand the teacher.
  • Take your parent’s advice so that you don’t miss the job. (we never use ‘in case’ with will or would)

Note that some conjunctions may introduce more than one type of clause. For example, take the conjunction ‘as.’

  • As we were leaving our home, we saw a car fall intothe river. (adverb clause of time says when)
  • He drives as I drive. (adverb clause of manner say-how)


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