Adverb Clauses: Hot Shots

Dependent clauses can function as adverbs. In this case, they are called adverb clauses. (Bet I didn't surprise you with that one.) An adverb clause is a dependent clause that describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb. As with regular old garden-variety adverbs, an adverb clause answers these questions:

  • Where?
  • Why?
  • When?
  • To what extent?
  • Under what condition?
  • In what manner?
You Could Look It Up

An adverb clause is a dependent clause that describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

All adverb clauses start with a subordinating conjunction. You reviewed some of the most common subordinating conjunctions in the previous section; here are a few more that you can use to link ideas and show how they are related:

  • As long as
  • As soon as
  • As though
  • In

Follow the Leader

You can place an adverb clause in the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. Refer to these examples of adverb clauses as you fashion your own.

Quoth the Maven

Set off adverb clauses that occur at the beginning of sentences with commas.

  • Wherever she goes, she leaves a piece of luggage behind.
  • The adverb clause “wherever she goes” modifies the verb “leaves.”
  • Bob enjoyed the movie more than I did.
  • The adverb clause “than I did” modifies the adverb “more.”
  • Prince wanted to change his name because too many dogs answered when he was called.
  • The adverb clause “because too many dogs answered when he was called” modifies the verb “wanted.”

Shape Up Your Sentences

You sweat for rock-hard abs, firm pecs, and a tight, uh, southern hemisphere. Why not give your sentences a good workout to make them as healthy as your bod? Adverb clauses can help you eliminate sentence flab. For instance:

Two sentences: Sean Connery had worked as both a bricklayer and a truck driver. This was before he became the original James Bond.

One sentence: Before he became the original James Bond, Sean Connery had worked as both a bricklayer and a truck driver.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at and Barnes & Noble.


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