The adverbial clause contains a subject and a verb. It adds extra information about the time, place, manner, etc to a sentence, and modifies the verb. As a dependent clause, it cannot stand on its own and must connect to the main clause or an independent clause to form a complete sentence. The adverbial clause may come before or after the main clause. When it comes before the main clause, a comma is used to separate the two clauses. When it comes after the main clause, no comma is necessary. The adverbial clause usually begins with a conjunction.


Examples of the adverbial clause
  • He shook my hand before he died.
  • He ate the whole, big pizza although he said he was not hungry.
  • The wife now sleeps in another room because the husband snores loudly.
  • Bill and I once fought bravely against each other when we were classmates.


The adverbial clause performs different functions. For example, it shows the time, place, etc that something happens.
Clauses of time – These clauses show when something happens.
Conjunctions used include after, as, as long as, as soon as, before, since, so long as, until, when, whenever, while
  • Look left and right before you cross the road.
  • When she heard the news, she wept tears of joy.
Clauses of place – These clauses show where something is or happens.
Conjunctions used include anywhere, everywhere, where, wherever.
  • Why do you follow me wherever I go?
  • That is the farm where I saw a lot of scorpions.
Clauses of manner – These clauses show the way something is done.
Conjunctions used include as, like
  • As I have said a hundred times, put the cap back on the pen when finished using.
  • He treats his dog like his own brother.
Clauses of purpose – These clauses show the purpose of doing something.
Conjunctions used include so that, in order that/to
  • I hold my pet cat up so that everyone can see it.
  • He added salt in order to make the soup taste good, but the soup became too salty.
Clauses of reason – These clauses show why something happens.
Conjunctions used include as, because, now that, since
  • As we are both tired, we agreed to stop playing.
  • She got stung because she went too close to the wasp’s nest.
Clauses of condition – These clauses show a possible situation.
Conjunctions used include even if, if, in the event that, in case, only if, unless
  • If he were not such a heavy smoker, he would be alive today.
  • I’m going to take away your television unless you pay me back the money.
Clauses of contrast – These clauses show clear differences: ‘this thing’ is exactly the opposite of ‘that thing’.
 Conjunctions used include whereas, while
  • The wife is fat and short, while the husband is skinny and tall.
  • Why good people die young, whereas bad ones live longer?


The adverbial clause usually comes at the end of the sentence. It can also come at the beginning.
  • I shall not go to the library with you unless you learn to keep quiet.
    Unless you learn to keep quiet, I shall not go to the library with you.
  • The little girl shot her father’s face with a water pistol while he was asleep.
    While her father was asleep, the little girl shot his face with a water pistol.