The use of adverb clauses in an essay not only adds interesting and informative details, but it also adds depth to an individual's writing style. Adverb clauses are dependent clauses that contain a subject and a verb. They are introduced by a subordinating conjunction such as "if," "before" or "since." Adverb clauses serve the same purpose to a sentence as a one-word adverb does, but with more detailed information. Adverb clauses can modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb.
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Answer the question of "when" by using a time adverb clause in an essay sentence. Compare the following two sentences to see how much more vivid writing is when using an adverb clause compared to a one word adverb.
"He goes skiing frequently."
"He goes skiing whenever there is snow on the ground."
In this example, "whenever there is snow on the ground" is the adverb clause and "whenever" is the subordinating conjunction. Additional subordinating conjunctions for use with time adverb clauses include "before," "since," "while," "when," "as," "until" and "after."
Use a place adverb clause to answer the question of "where" an event took place: "Wherever there is snow, there are skiers racing." In this example, "wherever there is snow" is the adverb clause; it is considered an introductory adverb clause. "Wherever" is the subordinating conjunction. "Where" is another subordinating conjunction to use with place-adverb clauses.
Add detail to an essay by answering the question of "why" with a cause adverb clause: "John could not go wakeboarding because the lake was still frozen." "Because the lake was still frozen" is the adverb clause and "because" is the subordinating conjunction in this example. Additional subordinating conjunctions for use with cause adverb clauses include "since," "as" and "because."
Explain the reason that something happened by using a purpose-adverb clause to answer the question of "why:" "Jane joined a book club so that she could share her love of reading." In this example, "so that she could share her love of reading" is the adverb clause and "so that" is the subordinating conjunction. "In order that" and "that" are more subordinating conjunctions that can be used with purpose-adverb clauses.
Make a comparison between two or more items by using a comparison-adverb clause introduced by the subordinating conjunctions "as" or "than:" "This book is better than all five of the books I read last month." "Than all five of the books I read last month" is the adverb clause.
Tips and warnings
- Adverb clauses are also used to add details about conditions, concessions, results and manners.
- Subordinating conjunctions used with condition-adverb clauses include "if," "unless" and "whether."
- Subordinating conjunctions used with concession-adverb clauses include "except," "though" and "although."
- Subordinating conjunctions used with result-adverb clauses include "so that" and "such that."
- Subordinating conjunctions used with manner adverb clauses include "as," "as though" and "as if."
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