Adverb Clauses: Types & Purposes

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  • 0:00 What Is an Adverb Clause?
  • 1:14 Forming Adverb Clauses
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Nagelsen

Susan has directed the writing program in undergraduate colleges, taught in the writing and English departments, and criminal justice departments.

The adverb clause functions as an adverb, and it answers the questions when, where, why, how, how much, and under what condition, as it modifies adjectives, verbs, and adverbs.

What Is an Adverb Clause?

When you are looking for an adverb clause, you don't have to look far. An adverb clause is a group of words that work together as an adverb. The group can modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and it does so by telling us:

  • When something is
  • Where something is
  • Why something is happening
  • How something is happening
  • How much there is of something
  • Under what condition something takes place

Adverb clauses are often easy to recognize because they begin with a subordinating conjunction like 'after,' 'if,' 'because,' and 'although.'

Now that you know what it is, let's take a look at the rules for an adverbial clause. An adverb clause has the following:

  • It contains a subject and a verb.
  • It has a subordinating conjunction like 'after,' 'if,' 'because,' and 'although.'
  • It answers one of these four adverb questions: how, when, where, or why.

Now let's look at some examples to see how this works. Once you get the hang of it, you will see adverb clauses pop out when you are reading, and you will be sure to use them when you are writing.

Forming Adverb Clauses

Agnes cleaned the oven because the blueberry pie exploded, causing a real mess.

Why did Agnes clean the oven? Our adverb clause will answer that: because the blueberry pie exploded. That clause is an adverb clause.

Let's look at another example: In order to improve her balance, she did one legged squats.

Why did she do one legged squats? In order to improve her balance is an adverb clause.

She worked on the car until the engine purred like a cat.

How did she work on the car? Until the engine purred like a cat is the adverb clause.

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