An adverbial clause 1

An adverbial clause is a subordinate clause starting with a subordinating conjunction. To understand the role of the adverbial clause we need to understand the role of adverbs in a sentence.

So, an adverb modifies verbs, adjectives, other adverbs or part of a sentence (phrase) or  another clause or the whole sentence.

I will do it tomorrow. // adverb

I will do it as soon as you stop nagging me about it. // adverbial clause

An adverb, adverbial phrase or adverbial clause function as adjuncts (adverbials) in a sentence and may be removed from it and the rest of the sentence still stays grammatically correct sentence.

I will do it! (an independent clause - a sentence)

The most common subordinating conjunctions are: afteralthoughasas ifbecausebeforeeven ifeven thoughifin order tosincethoughunlessuntilwhateverwhenwhenever,whether, and while.

Most adverbial clauses can come before or after the main clause, and embedded adverbial clauses are rare (other than those beginning with THAN or sometimes AS).

Faster than thought travels, the angel appeared.

For us, speakers of English as a second language, it is important to spot an adverb clause by its function rather than looking for dependent marks; it is important to ask questions: where?, when?, how?, to what degree? under what condition?, why?. And if you find your answer in a sentence, then most probably it is an adverb clause.

Classification of adverbs and adverbial is not the same, depends on the function of the word in a sentence and varied from one author to the other. Here, it is my try to make any sense of it.

1. Adverbs of time
Since, when, until, while, no sooner than, pairs of correlative conjunctions (hardly ... when)

2. Adverbs of place
Where, whenever, anywhere, everywhere

3. Adverbs of Degree or Comparison
To what degree? To what extent?
Than,, the...the,

4. Adverbs of Condition
Under what condition?
If, unless

5. Adverbs of concession - contrast
Though, while, whereas, even if, although

6. Adverbs of reason
As, because, given, since

7. Adverbs of manner
Fast, slowly


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