An adverbial clause is a clause that relates to, or changes, the verb in the main clause
(an adverbial clause must go with a main clause).

Different Adverbial Clauses

There are several different types of adverbial clause:

1. time clauses – I went to school after I ate breakfast.
2. conditional clauses – If the weather was snowy I wouldn’t go to school.
3. clauses of purpose – I went to the school so that I could pay the tuition.
4. clauses of reason – I went to school because I needed to give a book back.
5. result clauses – I went to school so early that it had not opened yet.
6. concessive clauses – Unless I was ill, I always went to school.
7. clauses of manner – I went to school as morbidly as a clown that had been fired.
8. place clauses – I went to school wherever my parents lived.

Reduced Adverbial Clauses

Some adverbial clauses may be reduced (shortened) if the subject is the same in the adverbial clause and in the main clause. They are usually done by dropping the subject and using the gerund/…ing form.

Time Clauses

I went to school after I ate breakfast.
= I went to school after eating breakfast.

He took the bus after he crashed his car.
= He took the bus after crashing his car.

He was playing air guitar while he was dancing.
= He was playing air guitar while dancing.

Clauses of Purpose

Clauses of purpose can be reduced, although one will need to change ‘so’/’in order to’ into a verb of desire (want, need, hope), then add -ing.

I went to the school so that I could pay the tuition.
= Needing to pay my tuition, I went to school.

He killed the rabbit so he could eat it.
Wanting to eat it, he killed the rabbit.

We jumped into the lake in order to get clean.
= Wanting to get clean, we jumped into the lake.

Clauses of Reason

Clauses of reason can be reduced if they use ‘because’ or ‘since’ (if the subject is the same in both clauses).

They are reduced by dropping the ‘reason subordinator’ (‘since’ or ‘because’) and adding the …ing verb form at the beginning.

Because we were so tired, we fell asleep immediately.
= Being so tired, we fell asleep immediately.

Since he was coming to the house anyway, he thought he would bring back their DVD.
= Coming to the house anyway, he thought he would bring back their DVD.

Because she was so beautiful, she didn’t think she needed to study.
= Being so beautiful, she didn’t think she needed to study.

 

Exercises

1. Remembering that adverbial clauses can only be reduced if the subject is the same in the adverbial clause and the main clause, can these sentences be reduced?
a) After we went to the zoo, we went to the park.
b) They left the restaurant before she arrived.
c) After I got out of the taxi, I ran to the train.
d) While I was cleaning the house, a burglar upstairs was stealing my money.
e) Because she is always there, he loves to go to that nightclub.
f) Since he was going in the same direction, he decided to give her a lift.

2. Reduce these sentences that have time clauses:
a) He took the medicine after he was shouted at by his mum.
b) Before they walked up the hill, they ate their lunch.
c) It snowed last night after it had been warm for so long.

3. Reduce these sentences that use adverbial clauses of reason:
a) Because we had no money, we walked.
b) Since the car was so old, it didn’t sell for much money.
c) Because the TV show was a failure, it got cancelled.