An adverb clause is a dependent clause which takes the place of an adverb in another clause or phrase. An adverb clause answers questions such as "when?", "where?", "why?", "with what goal/result?", and "under what conditions?".
Note how an adverb clause can replace an adverb in the following example:
The premier gave a speech here.
The premier gave aspeech where the workers were striking.
Usually, a subordinating conjunction like "because," "when (ever)," "where (ever)," "since," "after," and "so that," will introduce an adverb clause. Note that a dependent adverb clause can never stand alone as a complete sentence:
they left the locker room
Dependent adverb clause
after they left the locker room
The firstexample can easily stand alone as a sentence, but the second cannot -- the reader will ask what happened "after they left the locker room". Here are some more examples of adverb clauses expressing the relationships of cause, effect, space, time, and condition:
Hamlet wanted to kill his uncle because the uncle had murdered Hamlet's father.
The adverb clause answers the question "why?".effect
Hamlet wanted to kill his uncle so that his father's murder would be avenged.
The adverb clause answers the question "with what goal/result?".
After Hamlet's uncle Claudius married Hamlet's mother, Hamlet wanted to kill him.
The adverb clause answers the question "when?". Note the change in word order -- an adverb clause can often appear either before or after the main part ofthe sentence.
Where the whole Danish court was assembled, Hamlet ordered a play in an attempt to prove his uncle's guilt.
The adverb clause answers the question "where?".
If the British co-operate, the Europeans may achieve monetary union.
The adverb clause answers the question "under what conditions?"
Recognize a clause when you see one.
Clauses comein four types: main [or independent], subordinate [independent], relative [or adjective], and noun. Every clause has at least a subject and a verb. Other characteristics will help you distinguish one type of clause from another.
Every main clause will follow this pattern:
subject + verb = complete thought.
Here are some examples:
Lazy students whine.
Students = subject;whine = verb.
Cola spilled over the glass and splashed onto the counter.
Cola = subject; spilled, splashed = verbs.
My dog loves pizza crusts.
Dog = subject; loves = verb.
The important point to remember is that every sentence must have at least one main clause. Otherwise, you have a fragment, a major error.
A subordinate clause will follow this pattern:subordinate conjunction + subject + verb = incomplete thought.
Here are some examples:
Whenever lazy students whine
Whenever = subordinate conjunction; students = subject; whine = verb.
As cola spilled over the glass and splashed onto the counter
As = subordinate conjunction; cola = subject; spilled, splashed = verbs.
Because my dog loves pizza crusts
Because = subordinateconjunction; dog = subject; loves = verb.
The important point to remember about subordinate clauses is that they can never stand alone as complete sentences. To complete the thought, you must attach each subordinate clause to a main clause. Generally, the punctuation looks like this:
main clause + Ø + subordinate clause.
subordinate clause + , + main clause.
Check out these revisions to thesubordinate clauses above:
Whenever lazy students whine, Mrs. Russell throws chalk erasers at their heads.
Anthony ran for the paper towels as cola spilled over the glass and splashed onto the counter.
Because my dog loves pizza crusts, he never barks at the deliveryman.
A relative clause will begin with a relative pronoun [such as who, whom, whose, which, or that] or a...
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