Relative Adverbs: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

When you write, it's important to add details to your sentences so your readers can enjoy and understand your writing. Using relative adverbs is one way to do this. In this lesson, you'll learn about relative adverbs and their purpose in sentences.

Relative Adverbs & What They Do

Have you ever received an invitation to a party? What information was in it?

Most often the information found in an invitation includes why the party is happening. Is it for a birthday, graduation, or something else? It also tells you when the party is going to happen and where it's going to take place. Without this information, you would have to wander around day after day looking in random places to find the party.

In the same way that party invitations describe the why, where, and when of a party, relative adverbs provide information about the people, places, or things that a sentence is talking about. They also join together sentences or clauses, which are groups of words with a subject and verb that are not complete sentences.

There are three relative adverbs that can be used in a sentence:

  • why
  • where
  • when

Let's explore each of the relative adverbs and their purpose in a sentence.

Why to Use Why

The relative adverb why provides more information about the reason that an event happened or will happen. It takes the place of the words the reason for which or for which in a sentence. Look at the following sentence:

Do you know why I want the new Intergalactic Laser Tag game for my birthday?

In this case, why helps link the clause ''do you know'' to the item the person would like for his/her birthday. This creates a question focused on the reasons behind someone's desire for the laser tag game. Do you really need a reason to buy a laser tag game though? Everyone knows laser tag is awesome!

Take a look at this sparkly picture. Can you think of a sentence about this picture that uses the relative adverb why?


Here's one example:

Joy wondered why no one else at the 4th of July party wanted to light sparklers with her.

Where to Use Where

The relative adverb where helps answer the question of location in a sentence. It takes the place of the words in which or at which. Look at the following sentence:

Sarah showed us the water park where she wanted to have her Sweet 16 party.

The word where connects two sentences together to tell you where Sarah wanted to have her party. Sounds like Sarah wants to make a ''splash'' with her friends by having her party at a water park!

The boys in this picture look like they're having fun. Can you think of a sentence about the picture that uses the relative adverb where?

Boys at a party

An example could be:

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