Adverbial clause

Adverbial clause

An adverbial clause is a clause that functions as an adverb. In other words, it contains subject (explicit or implied) and predicate, and it modifies a verb.

*"I saw Joe when I went to the store." (explicit subject "I")
*"He sat quietly in order to appear polite." (implied subject "he")

According to Sidney Greenbaum and Randolph Quirk, adverbial clauses function mainly as adjuncts or disjuncts. In those functions they are like adverbial phrases, but in their potentiality for greater explicitness, they are more often like prepositional phrases ("Greenbaum" and "Quirk",1990):

*"We left after the speeches ended."
*"We left after the end of the speeches."

Contrast adverbial clauses with adverbial phrases, which do not contain a clause.

*"I like to fly kites for fun."

Kinds of adverbial clauses

(Sinclair, 1990)


* Greenbaum, Sidney & Quirk, Randolph. "A Student's Grammar of the English Language". Hong Kong: Longman Group (FE) Ltd, 1990.
* Sinclair, John (editor-in-chief). "Collins Cobuild English Grammar". London and Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co ltd, 1990.

ee also

*phrase structure rules
*transformational-generative grammar
*structural linguistics

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