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Grammatical Form of English Adverb Clauses

Grammatical Form of English Adverb Clauses

Similar to the adverb and adverb phrases in grammatical function, an adverb clause is a dependent or subordinate clause that consists of a subordinating conjunction followed by a clause and that performs an adverbial function.

Conjunctions are “words that link words, phrases, and clauses.” A subordinating conjunction is a conjunction that introduces a subordinate or dependent clause. Some of the subordinating conjunctions in English that introduce adverb clauses are:

  • after
  • although
  • as
  • as if
  • as long as
  • as soon as
  • as though
  • because
  • before
  • even if
  • even though
  • how
  • if
  • if only
  • in order that
  • lest
  • now that
  • once
  • provided
  • rather than
  • since
  • so that
  • than
  • that
  • though
  • unless
  • until
  • when
  • whenever
  • where
  • whereas
  • wherever
  • whether
  • while

For example:

  • When you turn left, I turn right.
  • You can dance even if you think you cannot.
  • Because I ate the bad cheese, I ended up in the emergency room with food poisoning.
  • I will check food dates better lest I get sick again.

Using Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses perform only one grammatical function within sentences in the English language: adjunct adverbial. An adjunct adverbial is a word, phrase, or clause that modifies or describes an entire clause by providing additional information about time, place, manner, condition, purpose, reason, result, and concession. For example:

  • After the cake cools, we will have some dessert.
  • So that she would not ruin the carpet, she took off her muddy shoes.
  • Although you gave your best effort, you did not pass the test.
  • She graduated with honors because she worked hard.
  • You will be late for work unless you hustle.
  • He could buy a new car if he made the effort to save some money.

An adverb clause is a subordinate clause that performs an adverbial function and consists of a subordinating conjunction followed by a clause. Adverb clauses function only as adjunct adverbials.

Summary

Adverb clauses in English grammar are subordinate or dependent clauses that consist of a subordinating conjunction followed by a clause and that perform adverbial grammatical functions.

Adverb clause is a grammatical form.

The only grammatical function performed by adverb clauses is adjunct adverbial.

All adverb clauses are finite. Finite clauses contain conjugated verbs functioning as predicates.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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