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Identifying adverb clauses

  1. Nov 30, 2005 #1


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    Hello, friends, how can I quickly and efficiently identify adverb clauses. You can by their subordinating conjunctions of course, but you can't jump to think adverb clause when you see "where."
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2005 #2
  4. Nov 30, 2005 #3


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    Well, given the complexity and flexibility of human languages (and underfunding of the Grammar Police Force), I think that looking for a quick & easy method is usually setting yourself up for disappointment.

    Quick & easy method: Adverbs modify (give you (additional) information about) verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. An adverb clause is a subordinate clause that functions as an adverb. So when you locate a subordinate clause, ask yourself if it modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb. If it does, you have yourself an adverb clause. Congratulations! :smile: Well, the instructions are quick and easy; I doubt that following them is either.

    Notice that the definition (do you have a different one?) defines adverbs by what they do / what they mean (function), not by how they look / where they are located (form). So if you're looking for a way to identify an adverb by it's form, sorry, I don't know if that's possible. You might just be stuck looking at function or taking your chances with tricks, tips, rules of thumb, etc.
    --BTW, I think this is a good general lesson. Instead of thinking, for instance, "this word is an adverb", it's better to think "this word is functioning as an adverb in this particular sentence" or even better "this structure (word, phrase, clause, etc.) is functioning as a member of this category (adverb, noun, verb phrase, etc.) in this particular structure".--
    Here are the adverb sections from two of the best grammar sites that I've found: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adverbs.htm and http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/adverbs/adverbs.htm. They give some tips -- they aren't necessarily foolproof though. :wink:

    P.S. Why didn't you put this in the Social Sciences forum? Or History and Humanities even? Just wondering.

    P.P.S. Subordinate clauses aren't always preceded by a subordinating conjunction, a.k.a. complementizer. I think this sentence demonstrates that fact. Sorry, Grammar Police. I think that that sentence demonstrated that fact.

    P.P.P.S And that last P.S. demonstrated the problem with thinking things like "that is a complementizer", since that functioned as both a complementizer ([I think] that [that sentence...]) and a determiner ([that sentence], [that fact]).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  5. Nov 30, 2005 #4

    Chi Meson

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    Nu Uhh.
    Honestroswater's response was as quick and efficient as you get. I consulted my "Harbrace" and here's the best I can add: the subordinate clause modifies the verb "to indicate [or clarify] time, place, cause, condition, concession comparison, purpose or result."

    Some are tricky ( Here, the adverb clause is in italics, the verb it modifies is bold):
    If I save enough money, I'll go to Alaska. If not, I'll take a trip to St. Louis.
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