Grammar Lesson: The Adverb Clause

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 14, 2010

An adverb clause functions as an adverb. This clause answers any of these questions—How? When? Where? Why? How much? How often? It has a subject and a verb, but it cannot stand alone as a complete thought. It needs to be joined with an independent or main clause to make sense. An adverb clause starts with any of the following subordinating conjunctions:

Each adverb clause is underlined in the following sentences:

    After the captain docked the large ship, her crew members cheered. (When?)
    Because his arm was aching, Mr. Hopkins went to the doctor. (Why?)
    You can go with us if you would like to do so. (How?)
    Monica is more intelligent than she thinks she is. (How much?)

Activity 1

Underline the adverb clause in each sentence.

  1. While Rome burned, Nero fiddled.
  2. Until the weather conditions improve, the boat will not leave the pier.
  3. Hector entered the room before we did.
  4. Even though Marcelle was tired, she still completed her workout.
  5. You can enter the building if you have the custodian's permission.

Activity 2

Ten of these sentences contain adverb clauses. The other five do not. Place a checkmark on the line next to those sentences that contain an adverb clause.

  1. ____ Do you know when the movie will finish?
  2. ____ Because I am tired, I will not participate.
  3. ____ Emma left the game before me.
  4. ____ Fiona stayed here while we went fishing.
  5. ____ Unless I am incorrect, this is their house.
  6. ____ Some of the antelopes that were here have been relocated.
  7. ____ Larry looked as if he had seen a ghost.
  8. ____ Before the band played, we left to get a snack.
  9. ____ Did they see where Terry went?
  10. ____ Have you seen the principal since then?
  11. ____ Though the officer stopped them, she did not ticket them.
  12. ____ My brother seemed so tall at that time.
  13. ____ Even though you are younger than they are, you are more talented.
  14. ____ Because the exam is tomorrow, I must study tonight.
  15. ____ After the contest, we will go for a nice meal.


  • The Adverb Clause
    1. While Rome burned
    2. Until the weather conditions improve
    3. before we did
    4. Even though Marcelle was tired
    5. if you have the custodian's permission
  • Nailing Down the Adverb Clause

The adverb clauses are found in sentences 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, and 14.

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