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How Best We Can Learn Functions of Adverbial Clauses

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An adverbial clause is a clause that modifies a verb in the sentence it appears. That is it gives more details about a verb in the sentence. An adverbial clause is a subordinate clause that is marked by some subordinators such as after, though, although, if, because, when, until, that, unless, where, wherever, as soon as, etc.

Types of Adverbial Clauses 

There are types of adverbial clauses in English grammar.  Some of them will be discussed with examples below.

Adverbial Clause of Time

This is introduced by the subordinators: when, since, while, before, until, as soon as, etc. For example:

(a)         He ran away when he saw me.

(b)        Since the day you saw me, I have been preparing.

(c)         The man had left before you came.

The underlined groups above are adverbial clauses of time because when he saw me in (a) talks about the time the person ran away, and since the day you saw me talks about the time the speaker has been preparing and lastly before you came talks about the time the man had left. Therefore, the grammatical name of the words underlined is an adverbial clause of time. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

(a)         It modifies the verb ‘ran’.

(b)        It modifies the verb phrase ‘have been preparing’.

(c)         It modifies the verb ‘had’ or ‘had left’

Adverbial Clause of Place

This is introduced by the subordinators: where or wherever. For example:

(a)         I will go wherever you go.

(b)        I can’t say where he is.

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of place because whenever you go tells us about the place the speaker will go and where he is. Therefore, the grammatical name of the words underlined is an adverbial clause of place. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

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(a)         It modifies the verb ‘will’ or ‘will go’.

(b)        It modifies the verb ‘can’t’ or can’t say.

Adverbial Clause of Condition

It is introduced by the subordinators if, unless, etc. For example:

(a)         I will beat you if you follow me. (positive condition)

(b)        If you ask me, I will go. (positive condition)

(c)         He will not go unless you ask him. (negative condition)

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of condition because if you follow me is conditional when it means if you don’t follow me, I will not beat you; and if you ask me means if you don’t ask me, I will not go and lastly, unless you ask him means, he will not go. The grammatical name given to the underlined words is an adverbial clause of condition. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

(a)         It modifies the verb ‘will’ or ‘will beat’.

(b)        It modifies the verb ‘will’ or ‘will go’.

(c)         It modifies the verb ‘will not’ or ‘will not go’

Adverbial Clause of Concession

It is introduced by the subordinators though, although, even though, etc. For example:

(a)         Although he didn’t prepare well, he passed his examinations.

(b)        Ade played very well though he didn’t score.

(c)         Doyin was rude even though she was generous.

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of concession. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

(a)         It modifies the verb ‘passed’.

(b)        It modifies the verb ‘played’.

(c)         It modifies the verb ‘was’.

Adverbial Clause of Reason/Cause

This is introduced by the subordinators: because, since, since, now that, etc. For example:

(a)         He came late because it was raining.

            (b)        Inasmuch as he is at home, I sleep comfortably.

(c)         I can do it since it is easy.

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of reason/cause since it was raining makes us understand that the reason why he came late is because of rain and inasmuch as he is at home makes us understand that the reason why the speaker sleeps comfortably is that he is at home. Lastly, since it is so easy makes us understand that the reason why the speaker can do it is that it is so easy. Consequently, the grammatical name given the expression underlined above is an adverbial clause of reason. The functions they perform in the sentence are as follows:

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(a)            It modifies the verb ‘came’.

(b)            It modifies the verb ‘sleep’.

(c)            It modifies the verb ‘can do’.

Adverbial Clause of Manner

It is introduced by the subordinators as, which means ‘exactly’ or ‘just’, as if, as though, etc. For example:

(a)         Please, do it (exactly) as I instructed.

(b)        You are behaving as if you were mad.

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of manner because they show the manner of the people referring to them. Consequently, the grammatical name given to the expression underlined in the sentences is an adverbial clause of manner. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

(a)           It modifies the verb ‘do’.

(b)          It modifies the verb ‘are’ or verb phrase ‘are behaving’.

Adverbial Clause of Result/Purpose

It is introduced by the subordinators so, so that, etc., for example:

(a)         Samuel read well so that he could pass his examination.

(b)        John died so that we might live.

The words underlined above are adverbial clauses of result/purpose because so that he could pass his exam gives the result or the purpose why Samuel read well and so that we might live gives us the result or the purpose why John died. So, the grammatical name given to the expressions underlined is an adverbial clause of result/purpose. The functions they perform in the sentences are as follows:

(a)          It modifies the verb ‘read’.

(b)         It modifies the verb ‘died’.

In some examinations, the bodies ask about the grammatical names and functions. The grammatical name is an adverbial clause while the functions are modifiers of the verbs in the sentences.

 

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