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Adverbial Clause






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Mastering Adverbial Clauses

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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What is an Adverbial Clause?

What does adverbial mean? It has a simple answer. According to Collins Dictionary, adverbial means relating to adverbs or like an adverb. An adverbial clause is a group of adverbs that is always dependent on the sentence’s main clause, giving it more information and clarity. It can be added anywhere around the sentence. Also, it enhances the adverbs to give out emotions and clarity, making better proficiency with what the reader is reading and the speaker is speaking. Adverbial clauses modify different adverbs, verbs and adjectives. 

As we have learned about the adverbial definition, we can now move forward to know what is the significance of the adverb clause. Sometimes an adverb does not specify the details in the sentence accurately. In such cases, adverbial clauses are helpful as it depends on the main sentence adding more information. Adverb clauses are also important in English grammar to clarify these sentences more within words by adding a group of adverbs. 

Here are some adverb clause examples: 

  • She is doing her work weekly. 
  • She does all her work before she leaves for school every morning.
  • Amusingly, she never has any work pending. 
  • As she is a hardworking girl, she never leaves her work pending. 

The highlighted words in the sentence are adverbial clauses. 

Adverbial Clause Types

Now that we know what is an adverbial clause, we can move forward to learning different kinds of adverb clauses. Keep reading to know further!

Time Adverbial Clauses

We all know what is adverbial and how it changes sentences. When an adverb group tells us about when the event or the circumstances has taken place, it is known as a time adverbial clause. The adverbial time clause tells us when an action happened with the help of the dependent clause.

Here are some time adverbial clause examples: 

  • She got home early in the evening.
  • The children were very excited and danced as the band played
  • Before she got home, she played a little in her sister’s house.

All these sentences highlighting a time in which the action happened are known as time adverbial clauses. The words ” early evening,” “as the band played,” before she got home” tell us about a specific event happening at a specific time. We can easily notice that the main agenda of the sentence was that she got home, the children were very excited and danced, and she played in her sister’s house. But adding these adverbs made the sentence clear to when it happened, giving more information. 

Place Adverbial Clauses

Adverb of place can be further grouped by place adverb clauses. Place adverbial clause describes the sentence giving more information about where the circumstance or the event occurred. 

  • They were excited to go to places where the city roads end.
  • While eating at the playground, they realize they have missed their school bag.
  • They were headed to somewhere where gardens were green and thick.

These adverbial clause examples tell you about the action taking place in a specific location or are being intended for a specific location. The words ” where the city roads end,” “while eating at the playground,” and “Gardens were thick and green” indicate a specific place where the action is happening in the main clause. 

Manner Adverbial Clauses

Manner adverbial clause tells us how the main action has occurred earlier, in the present, or will be happening. It is the most common adverb claws and most of the sentences. 

For example: 

  • She was dancing elegantly as she had done earlier in front of the mirror
  • He was smiling for photos similarly as he smiled in front of his friend
  • As he daily practised in front of an audience, he has got nice charisma. 

These sentences tell us about how the event is happening in the main clause in context to previous elements. Such as, she was dancing elegantly because she had earlier practised in front of the mirror. He was smiling in the photo, the same as he would smile for a friend. A boy with confidence practised daily in front of an audience.

Condition Adverbial Clauses

We will be talking about those adverbial clauses that describe a situation in terms of condition which is dependent on the adverb group. 

Condition adverbial clause examples:

  • We will be staying here till she tells us to stay.
  • They will be dancing until the music stops.
  • I paused every evening in front of the lake because of the birds chirping. 

In these examples, it is clear that the adverb group indicates some conditions until the main action or before or after the main action. This makes it very important for the adverb clause to be present in such situations because we can gain full information from the same two sides of one coin.

Reason Adverbial Clauses

Reason adverbial clauses tell the reader about the specific information that the main clause is trying to convey as the reason. 

For example:

  • She went home crying because it rained during her match.
  • He was very patient with her because she was injured
  • Because we are trying so hard, we can achieve our goals.

In these examples, it is clear that the sentence’s main clause is dependent upon the word “because,” followed by the group of adverbs. These sentences help us tell the reason in a short and precise manner by changing the adverbs and verbs.  

Other Adverbial Clauses

There are other adverbial clauses present in the grammar too. Let us quickly take a look at it.

The clause of purpose, the clause of concession, and the clause of comparison these three clauses give the sentence more depth and meaning than the other five adverb clauses. 

Adverb Clause Of Purpose

The adverb clause of purpose gives the sentence, and the main clause the main purpose or answer. 

For Example, we all played very hard so we can win the match. Winning was the adverb supporting the main reason for such action, giving the purpose of the verb mentioned in the sentence.

Adverb Clause Of Confession

These adverbs mainly provide us with the confinement or confession of something in the sentence, which the adverb supports with the main clause. 

For Example; No matter how good I thought, I was very wrong in the end. This sentence shows the person’s good intentions, concluding that even if he thought good, he did wrong.

Adverb Clause Of Comparison

In these clauses, there are certain amounts of comparison present in the sentence, which the main clause, with the help of the adverb clause, provides information to.

For Example, she is very good at singing as she is good at baking cakes. In this sentence, her two qualities are compared to give a compliment showing us that it is the clause of comparison. 

How to Use Adverbial Clauses

The adverbial clause should be placed very carefully. The clause can be confusing as it can change the meaning if placed wrong, disturbing the main structure of the sentence and other elements. As there are a total of eight types of adverbial clauses, it becomes very important for you to know how each clause should be placed according to its type. 

Positioning Adverbial Clauses in a Sentence

All eight adverbial clauses can be put up anywhere in the sentence, be it the beginning, middle or end part. No matter how you place it, it will always be a supporting clause, not the main one. While writing the sentence together, one should always remember that the sentence they connect should not be a modifier or a dangler with incorrect grammar. 

To avoid making any mistakes, it is important to know the clause you will be using first and then carefully placing it in the most suitable place according to correct grammar. 

Punctuation of Adverbial Clauses

The punctuation should be put up very carefully, and the commas should not be put in rough places. There should be no full stop, dash, or colon in between sentences instead of commas. 

Common Errors to Avoid

Some common errors are encountered while writing adverb clauses, such as unnecessary modifiers and irrelevant danglers, with grammatically incorrect agreements and problems with the structure of the sentence. 

These are common problems we can find in sentences if it is grammatically incorrect. To improvise these kinds of sentences, one should always ensure that the adverb clause’s position is placed very carefully. 

These errors can happen with common punctuation errors too often with commas, periods and semicolons. One should always note that they should have proper sentences formed with fewer commas and direct lines to avoid it. 

Adverbial Groups vs. Adverbial Clauses

Now that you know what an adverbial clause means let us differentiate adverbial groups from adverbial clauses. The main difference between these two is that one depends on the sentence’s main clause, and the other can just exist in the sentence’s main clause as an adverb.

Adverbial Groups Adverbial Clauses
Adverbial Group can be present in the main clause without any dependent clause as grouped words of adverbs.
The adverbial clause is always dependent upon the main clause.
For Eg. I threw my coat on the chair.
For Eg. she will have her performance in the evening.

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Key Takeaways

  1. It is always dependent

  2. It adds additional information to the main clause

  3. Adverb clause has 8 different kinds of clauses, such as time, comparison and more.

  4. It can be added anywhere in the sentence.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can adverbial clauses be positioned in a sentence?

Adverbial clauses can be positioned anywhere in a sentence.

How do you use adverbial clauses in writing?

Adverbial clauses in writing can be used easily by creating a group of adverbs in a dependent clause.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using adverbial clauses?

Unnecessary commas, danglers, and modifiers are common mistakes to avoid when using adverbial clauses.

How do you identify an adverbial clause?

It will always depend on the main clause providing additional information.

How can I test whether I have understood what adverbial clauses are?

You can take the help of the Edulyte worksheet given above to test yourself.

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