The adverb clause is that part of a sentence which has a finite verb and as a unit behaves like an adverb. It may serve the following functions in a sentence.
- Adverbial clause of reason/cause.
- Adverbial clause of time.
- Adverbial clause of place.
- Adverbial clause of manner.
- Adverbial clause of condition.
- Adverbial clause of degree.
All these kinds of adverbial clauses are used directly or indirectly to qualify the main theme of the sentence. That is why you have been told that the adverbial clause behaves like an adverb. Let us look at the following examples.
- Sarah knew when the baby woke up.
- The students were not sure whether the teacher would return.
- Obong desired to marry the young doctor so that people would get to hear his name.
All the italics clauses in the above examples qualify the main verbs of each of the three sentences. The clauses therefore determine how those main verbs should be looked at. It is therefore correct to say that whereas the main verbs focus on the major point, the adverbial clauses fill in more information about the points made.
TYPES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ADVERBIAL CLAUSE
1. Adverbial clause of reason is that kind of clause which states the cause of something. The two sentences below are good examples.
- Osondu and Emeka worked very hard because they wanted to pass.
- Since he slapped the boy, the umpire was declared guilty.
The italics clauses are both adverbial clauses of reason. You will see that each qualified the main topic of the rest of the sentence.
2. Adverbial clause of place is that kind of clause which talks about the location or place in which people are or things take place. Two examples are given below.
- The accident occurred where the two roads merge.
- The cleaners cleared the refuse near the field where the match was going to be played.
The two adverbial clauses in the above sentences have been introduced by the word ‘where”
3. Adverbial clause of manner is used to describe the way in which an action is carried out or the way in which an event takes place. Two examples are given below.
Nobody knew how captain Stephen did so well.
The students enjoyed how beautifully their choir sang.
The two clauses above point at the way in which points described can be looked at.
4. Adverbial clause of degree points at the level of seriousness or the amount of difference between one thing when compared against another. Two examples are given below:
- The traders sold their goods much cheaper than the hawkers sold theirs.
- The August rain was much heavier than the rain that fell in July.
The two italics sentences above relate to the other sentence parts. The italics ones serve to qualify the other main parts.
5. Adverbial clause of time is that type of clause which specifies the instance or period of an event, action or happening. Two examples are given below:
- Jumai sang while Habila was cooking.
- The door was locked when the policeman got to the house.
The two examples above illustrate the adverbial clause denoting time. As earlier stated, some key words or word groups are commonly used to introduce the adverbial clause. These include the following- while, where, so that, because, if, whether, however, when.