Understanding Adverb Clauses

An adverb clause just like the adjective clause still modifies. However in the case of Adverb clauses, what is modified is the verb, adjective or even an adverb. The adverb clause could also come as a group of words. Together, the group of word plays the role of an adverb.

If you remember in our previous lesson, we pointed out in the same way, that the adjective clause is introduced with a subordinator (otherwise known as a subordinating conjunction). The subordinator just in the same way performs the role of connecting the adverb clause to the main clause. We have common subordinating conjunctions that work with the adverb clauses. Examples are after, before, though, unless, whenever, whatever and a whole lot of others. Just like adjective clauses, adverb clauses are dependent clauses in that they can’t stand on their own.

adverb clauses

Let us look at some examples.

I danced yesterday.

I danced before she came in.

In the first sentence, yesterday gives us more details about when the subject danced. In that sense, it modifies the verb danced thereby acting as an adverb.

Let us look at the next sentence: I danced before she came in.

Can you see that before she came in has replaced the yesterday in the first sentence?
This group of words (before she came in) replacing the first adverb (yesterday) is an adverb clause.

Did you get it now? Okay, let us examine another example.

My father smiled beautifully.
My father smiled when I won the first prize.

In the first sentence, we see “My father smiled beautifully”. Beautifully modifies the verb there acting as an adverb.
In the second sentence “My father smiled when I won the first prize”.
You see that the group of words when I won the first prize has replaced the previous adverb “beautifully”. Therefore it is acting as an adverb clause.

The adverb clause must not always come after what it is modifying.

Yesterday, I knew he has won.
Whenever he jumped, I knew he has won.

Again, the adverb clause here is “whenever he jumped”. Here it is coming at the beginning. You see now?

After he decided on improving, Mike chose to work harder.

The adverb clause here is “after he decided on improving”. It tells us more about why Mike chose to work harder. This way it modifies it. This is exactly the work of the adverb clause. Do you now get the clear picture of what adverb clauses are and the role they play?

How about you identify the adverb clause in the following sentences:

Jude forget about the incident when Collins begged him.

Although he is good, he is never consistent.






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