The adverbial clause contains a subject and a verb and functions as an adverb that modifies verb, adjective, or another adverb. It adds extra information about the time, place, manner, etc to a sentence. As a dependent clause, it cannot stand on its own, but must be connected to the main clause (or independent clause) to form a complete sentence. The adverbial clause starts with a subordinating conjunction, and may come before or after the main clause. When it comes before the main clause, a comma is used to separate the two clauses. When it comes after the main clause, no comma is necessary.
The adverbial clause commonly come in the beginning, or at the end of a sentence.
In the beginning:
At the end:
When the adverb clause comes at the beginning of a sentence, a comma is required after the adverb clause.
The adverbial clause performs different functions. For example, it shows the time, place, manner, etc of an occurrence.
Clauses of time – These clauses show when something happens.
Conjunctions used include after, as, as long as, as soon as, before, since, so long as, until, when, whenever, while
- Before he died, he shook my hand.
- When she heard the news, she wept tears of joy.
- You must look left and right whenever you want to cross the road.
Clauses of place
– These clauses show where something is or happens.
Conjunctions used include anywhere, everywhere, where, wherever.
- Everywhere we went, people were staring at us.
- That is the farm where I saw a lot of scorpions.
- Why do you follow me wherever I go?
Clauses of manner – These clauses show the way something is done.
Conjunctions used include as, as though, like
- As I have told you a hundred times, don’t disturb that hornets’ nest.
- She looked pale as though she had seen a few ghosts.
- He treats his dog like his own brother.
Clauses of purpose – These clauses show the purpose of doing something.
Conjunctions used include lest, in order that/to, so that, that
- Let me remind you lest you forget that you still owe me ten dollars.
- In order to make the soup taste good, she added too much salt.
- I hold my pet cat up so that everyone can see it.
Clauses of reason – These clauses show why something happens.
Conjunctions used include as, as long as, because, in order that, now that, since, so
- As we are both tired, we agreed to stop playing.
- She got stung because she went too close to the wasp’s nest.
- Since there are no dishes under ten dollars, let’s get out of here.
Clauses of condition – These clauses show a possible situation.
Conjunctions used include even if, if, in case, in the event that, in case, only if, provided, providing, unless, whether or not
- If he were not such a heavy smoker, he would be alive today.
- I will dine with you, provided you pay the bill.
- I’m going to take away your television unless you pay me back the money.
Clauses of contrast – These clauses show clear differences: ‘this thing’ is exactly the opposite of ‘that thing’. Conjunctions used include although, despite, even if, even though, however, in spite of, regardless of, though, whereas, while
- Despite her parents’ objections, she insisted on marrying him.
- The wife is fat and short, while the husband is skinny and tall.
- Why good people die young, whereas bad ones live longer?