Adverb clauses are groups of words that function as an adverb, modifying an adjective, adverb, or a verb or verb phrase. To understand this, you need to know about clauses and the functions of adverbs.
A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb (predicate). This differs from a phrase, which does not have a subject and a verb, like “to the park.” Clauses can be independent or dependent.
- Because he has a college degree, he got a great job.
- When the storm started, she was at the store.
- Bob wore the coat that I gave him.
You can see that each underlined clause cannot stand on its own, but needs a clause to help it make sense or to help it complete a thought.
Adverb clauses are clauses that function as adverbs. Since they are dependent clauses, they must have a subordinating conjunction to connect them to the other clause. This will help you recognize an adverb clause.
Subordinating conjunctions can be arranged according to the purpose of the clause they begin. Here are some examples of subordinating conjunctions:
Most of the time, an adverb clause will be separated from the other clause with a comma. Here are examples of sentences with and without commas:
Since adverb clauses function as adverbs, let’s look at the functions of adverbs.
These examples show what the adverb is modifying (the adverb is underlined).
Adverb clauses can modify by telling the place, time, cause, and purpose of an action. They can also show concession and condition. Basically they answer the questions: where?, when?, why?, and under what conditions? Here are some examples with the adverb clause underlined:
While adverb clauses are a little more complicated than simple adverbs, they are worth learning about. If you'd like to see more examples of adverb clauses YourDictionary has more available at Examples of Adverb Clauses.
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