October 21, 2020

How to Identify 10 Types of the Adverbial Clause

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Learning to know more about clauses in English can be fun, I’m telling you. Especially when you learn how to identify the various types of the adverbial clause.

Just relax and let me show you a simple, direct way to spot an adverbial clause in any sentence.

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You will also learn how to name it specifically as an adverbial clause of condition, purpose, reason/cause, time and so on.

How to identify the adverbial clause in a sentence

One important distinguishing attribute of the adverbial clause is that it is introduced by a subordinating conjunction.

Examples of subordinating conjunction are: after, before, until, since, if, though, while, wherever, should, even if, as, etc.

Read also: How to easily identify a phrase and a clause

The non-finite ‘ing’ and ‘ed’ or ‘en’ forms may also be used in adverbial clauses.

The next time you find an underlined group of words beginning with the words in bold above, you can begin to suspect that it is most probably an adverbial clause.

Let’s move on.

Since there are many types of adverbial clause, let us try and identify the 10 most common ones.

1.      Adverbial Clause of Time:

Subordinating conjunctions include:

after, before, when, while, whenever, since, until


a) The students were seated before the lecturer arrived.

b) Whenever prices of petroleum products go up traders increase the prices of their goods.

c) After seeing you, I realized it was worth the effort

d) When finally elected to public office, many politicians easily forget those who put them there.

Sometimes the subordinating conjunction for the clause of time may be omitted but implied.

e.g. Going to school, I met a pretty lady

In this instance, while, when, while I was, when I was, are possible beginnings to the clause but are omitted.

e.g. (While) going to school, I met a pretty lady.

2.      Adverbial Clause of Place

Subordinating conjunctions: where, wherever, everywhere etc.


He hit him where it hurt most.

3.      Adverbial Clause of Condition

Subordinating conjunctions:

if, should, in case, unless, provided


a)     If we must die, let us not die like hogs.

b)    She wouldn’t have escaped if she had been put in an iron cage.

c)    In case you meet Latif tell him I’m still expecting his call.

d)  Should anything go wrong, hide under the bed.

e) I will tell everybody what happened unless Brenda agrees to marry me.

f) Arsenal can still win the match provided the manager makes a couple of changes in the second half.

4.      The Adverbial Clause of Concession

In this type of clause, there is an element of contrast but the idea expressed is not unusual.

Subordinating conjunctions include: though, although, while, whereas, even if, much as, whether – or, no matter, whatever, however         


a) Though Jonah passed the test, he was not promoted.

b) Much as Akofa seems to be a clever girl I still need to test her.

c) Even if you turn over a new leaf, I will not trust you ever again.

d) Whether living in London or not, Dr. Sackey enjoyed himself.

Note that where ‘even if’ is used there is very little difference between a clause of condition and a clause of concession if any at all.

Other examples:

a)     Sneer unkindly though you may, John is very popular.

b)     Naked though I was, I braved the storm.

c)      You may never catch up with her, no matter how hard you try.

5.      Adverbial Clause of Comparison.

Subordinating conjunctions include: as, as — so, less — than, faster than


a) As the president thinks so he acts

b) My daughter reacts to situations as I do.

c) Tunde walks faster than he runs.

6.      Adverbial Clause of Reason

Subordinating conjunctions for an adverbial clause of reason include:

because, since, as, so — that, so, in view of, now that, considering the fact that, seeing that.

a) He failed the interview because he took everything for granted.

b) Since you abandoned the children you have no right to claim they are yours.

c) We decided to stop the match as it began to rain.

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7.       Adverbial Clause of Proportion/Degree

Subordinating conjunctions include:

as + so, (the + comparative) + (the + comparative)


a) As I approached the hills so did the trees loomed large before me.

b) The harder we tackle the problem the more difficult it becomes

8.      Adverbial Clause of Purpose

Subordinating conjunctions include:

in order (to/ that); to, so as to, for fear; so that, etc.


a)     We closed early in order to be able to watch the match live on TV.

b)     The baby cried louder so as to draw attention to itself.

9.      Adverbial Clause of Manner

Please Note:

In many cases, there is little difference between the adverbial clause of manner and that of comparison.

Subordinating conjunctions include:

as; as if; as though; (just) as if; as – so


a) Brother Jero behaves as if he were an angel.

b) Just as a goat would bleat when being sent to the slaughter so she cried on seeing her poor results.

c) He played just as the coach taught him. (i.e. the way the coach taught him to play)

10.  Adverbial Clause of Preference

Subordinating conjunctions include:

rather than, sooner … than


Rather than vote for any dishonest candidate Rita will not vote at all.

I hope this was helpful.

Never forget to share my tutorials and posts.

Thank you!

Photo by ipet photo on Unsplash


Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

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