Grammar Rules

Adverb Clauses

What is an adverb clause?

An adverb clause is a group of words that is used to change or qualify the meaning of an adjective, a verb, a clause, another adverb, or any other type of word or phrase with the exception of determiners and adjectives that directly modify nouns.

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Adverb clauses always meet three requirements:
  • First, an adverb clause always contains a subject and a verb.
  • Second, adverb clauses contain subordinate conjunctions that prevent them from containing complete thoughts and becoming full sentences.
  • Third, all adverb clauses answer one of the classic “adverb questions:” When? Why? How? Where?

Examples of Adverb Clauses

As you read the following adverb clause examples, you’ll notice how these useful phrases modify other words and phrases by providing interesting information about the place, time, manner, certainty, frequency, or other circumstances of activity denoted by the verbs or verb phrases in the sentences. While adverb clauses are slightly more complicated than simple adverbs, they are worth learning about. The adverb clauses in these examples are italicized for easy identification.
  1. Jennifer scrubbed the bathtub until her arms ached. (This adverb clause describes how Jennifer scrubbed.)
  2. The dogs started chasing my car once they saw it turn the corner. (This adverb clause describes when the dogs started chasing my car.)
  3. After having my wisdom teeth out, I had a milkshake for dinner because I couldn’t chew anything. (This adverb clause describes why I had a milkshake for dinner.)

Adverb Clause Exercises

The following exercises will help you gain greater understanding about how adverb clauses work. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence. 1. The women took notes ________________________. a. While being taught to cook b. Steadily c. Noisily d. For their children Answer: A. the women took notes while being taught to cook. (This adverb clause describes when the women took notes.) 2. We will go to the game __________________. a. Friday b. Even if it rains c. Saturday d. Sometime Answer: B. We will go to the game even if it rains. (This adverb clause describes a certain condition, or a “how.”) 3. You can put the package ____________________. a. Outside b. Inside c. Wherever you like d. Somewhere Answer: C. You can put the package wherever you like. (This adverb clause denotes a place, even though that place is not specific.) 4. ___________________, you will not be punished. a. Since you have apologized b. We decided c. He told me d. You are lucky Answer: A. Since you have apologized, you will not be punished. (This adverb clause denotes a reason or a “why.”) 5. She was so tired _____________________. a. She left b. She cried c. Today d. That she could not stand Answer: D. She was so tired that she could not stand. (This adverb clause denotes a result of being tired or a “how.”)  

Adverb Clauses List

When creating adverb clauses, feel free to be creative. The following examples will help you get started:
  • Even when I’m sick
  • When you have finished working
  • Whenever you like
  • Wherever we prefer
  • Since I returned from vacation
  • As she was not there
  • Since you always do well
  • Before entering high school
  • After I return
  • So that he would understand