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Grammatical Function of English Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses are defined as subordinate or dependent clauses that consist of a subordinating conjunction followed by a clause and that perform adverbial grammatical functions. Adverb clauses perform only one grammatical function in English grammar: adjunct adverbial.

Adverb Clauses as Adjunct Adverbials

The one grammatical function that adverb clauses perform is the adjunct adverbial. An adjunct adverbial is a word, phrase, or clause that modifies or describes an entire clause by providing additional information about time, place, manner, condition, purpose, reason, result, and concession. For example, the following italicized adverb clauses function as adjunct adverbials:

  • While you were napping, FedEx delivered a couple of packages.
  • After she left the party, a surprise band showed up to play a secret gig.
  • Because he is allergic to shrimp, he never eats at Red Lobster.
  • Grandma scrubbed the tub until her arms ached.
  • She was tending to her garden when the storm hit.
  • Two students will fail the class if they do not pass the final exam.

Adverb clauses are dependent clauses that perform the grammatical function of adjunct adverbial in English grammar.

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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