Adverbial Clauses

Introduction to Adverbial Clauses

An adverbial clause, simply referred to as an adverb clause, is a type of dependent clause that acts as an adverb in a sentence. It modifies verbs, adjectives, or adverbs, providing information about the time, place, cause, purpose, condition, result, and manner of the action. An adverbial clause usually begins with a subordinating conjunction and includes a subject and a verb.

Structures of Adverbial Clauses

Here are the basic structures of an adverbial clause:

  • Subordinating Conjunction + Subject + Verb. For instance: Although she was tired, she still finished all of her homework.
  • Subordinating Conjunction + Verb (for imperative or question verbs). Example: wherever you go.

Using Subordinating Conjunctions

Adverbial clauses often start with subordinating conjunctions, which link the dependent clause to the main clause in a sentence. They introduce the clause and also signal the type of relationship it has with the main clause. Common examples of subordinating conjunctions include although, because, if, until, when, wherever, etc. Each of these conjunctions introduces a different type of adverbial clause.

Types of Adverbial Clauses

Different types of adverbial clauses include:

1. Time Clauses

These clauses show when the action happens. The subordinating conjunctions often used include as, after, before, since, while, etc.

For example: While she was studying, she received a call.

2. Place Clauses

This clause indicates where the action occurs using conjunctions like where, wherever, etc.

For example: She finds peace where she can hear birds singing.

3. Cause Clauses

These clauses show why an action happens, using conjunctions like because, since, as, etc.

For example: Because it was raining, they cancelled the picnic.

4. Purpose Clauses

This clause indicates the purpose or intention of an action using conjunctions such as so that, in order that, etc.

For example: She studies hard so that she can pass the exam.

5. Condition Clauses

Condition clauses show a condition that must be met for an action to take place. They use conjunctions like if, unless, whether, as long as, etc.

For example: You can go play if you finish your homework.

6. Manner Clauses

Manner clauses indicate how an action is done, using conjunctions such as as if, as though, how, etc.

For example: She sings as if she is a professional singer.

7. Result Clauses

Result clauses show the outcome or result of an action, using conjunctions like so…that, etc.

For example: He was so tired that he fell asleep instantly.

Rules for Using Adverbial Clauses

Here are a few rules to remember when using adverbial clauses:

  • An adverbial clause can be positioned at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, depending on the effect the writer wants to create. If it comes before the main clause, a comma is typically used to separate the two clauses.
  • The subject of an adverbial clause is usually different from the subject of the main clause.
  • Adverbial clauses can’t stand alone; they must be attached to an independent clause to form a complete sentence.


Adverbial clauses add depth and complexity to writing, allowing you to provide more details about the action of a sentence. By mastering these structures, you can improve both your comprehension and your expression in English. Remember that just like adverbs, adverbial clauses modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs – but they have the added advantage of providing more specific details to guide your reader. Happy writing!

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