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adverb clause

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb.

An adverb clause is a clause that acts as an adverb.

Function

An adverb clause modifies the verb in a sentence in the same way an adverb does:

  • Then the puck flew past the goalie into the net. (adverb telling when the puck flew)
  • When Joe hit the puck, it flew past the goalie into the net. (adverb clause telling when the puck flew)

Structure

Adverb clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions. The most common conjunctions used in adverb clauses are listed below, according to the type of clause they introduce.

  • Cause: as, because, since
    • Since the rain washed out the bridge, we’ll have to cross on foot.
  • Comparison: as … as, than
    • John sings better than I do.
  • Condition: if, provided that, unless, whether
    • I’ll go to the barbecue if you can give me a lift home.
  • Concession: although, even though, whereas, while
    • Even though Eric arrived late, he still got a seat.
  • Manner: as, as if, as though
    • Kristen looked as if she would explode.
  • Place: where, wherever
    • Take this map with you wherever you go.
  • Purpose: in order that, so that
    • Natalia closed the gate so that the llama would not stray.
  • Time: after, as, before, once, since, till, until, when, while
    • Until Al called, I expected to spend the evening at home.

NOTE: For information on how to punctuate adverb clauses, see COMMAS WITH ADVERB CLAUSES.