Adverb Clause Definition, Examples & Exercises

By | April 15, 2019

Clauses and phrases is a unique chapter to read to learn English Grammar which is read under chapter clauses in English grammar. Here we are providing you with clauses definition, clauses meaning, and all types of clauses and some clauses examples with clauses exercises. This includes main clause examples with clauses and phrases exercises and worksheet. So don’t think what is clause and phrase, simply dive into clauses grammar and have the fun of learning-


What is a Clause?

A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb. It may be a sentence or the part of a sentence.

There are three kinds of clauses:

  • Noun clause
  • Adverbial/ Adverb clause                        
  • Relative/ Adjective

Adverbial Clauses

Adverbial Clauses of Condition:

The adverbial clause of the condition is introduced by if, unless, whether:

  • If you run fast, you will catch the train.
  • Unless you work hard, you will not pass.

The underlined words in the above sentences form the adverbial clauses of the condition. A conditional clause is a subordinate clause and expresses a condition.

  The conditional clauses are of the following types:

(i) In an if-clause referring to a likely or possible situation in the future, the simple present tense is used. The future tense is used in the main clause:

  • If it rains, we’ll go indoors.

 Generally, the main clause has the form: shall/will/may/can/must+ first form of the verb:

  • If she works hard, she will pass.
  • If you request me, I shall help you.
  • If you need a pen, you can take mine.
  • If you want to get good marks, you must work harder.

 (ii) In an if- clause referring to a condition that always has the same result, the simple present is used. The simple tense is used in the main clause too:

  • If the engine gets too hot, it starts to smoke.
  • If you heat ice, it melts.
  • If you boil water, it evaporates.
  • If you beat a child, he weeps.

(iii) If a conditional clause refers to an unlikely or impossible situation in the present or future, the simple past tense is used. In the main clause, we use `should’, `could’, ‘might’, `would’, etc + first form of the verb:

  • If you run fast, you might catch the train.
  • If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.
  • I would tell you if I knew the answer.
  • If a thief entered your house, what would you do?
  • If I were rich, I would open a school for the poor.

 (iv) If a conditional clause refers to something that did not happen in the past, the past perfect tense is used. In the main clause, we use would have/should have/could have/might have + third form of the verb:

  • If she had worked hard, she would have passed.

          (i.e. She didn’t work hard, so she didn’t pass).

  • If he had left early, he might have caught the train.
  • If he had informed me, I would have received him at the railway station.

 But when the main clause is about the present, ‘would’, `could’, `might’, etc. without have is used:

  • If you had followed my advice, we would be home by now.

(v) If a conditional clause refers to an unlikely situation in the future, ‘were to’ or ‘should’ followed by an infinitive, is sometimes used instead of the simple past tense:

  • If you should meet him, tell him to come here.
  • If she were to die before you, who would look after your children?
  • If you need any help, ring me up.

(vi) ‘If only’ is used to express a wish with reference to present or future time:

  • If only I were rich.                    
  • If only I could swim.
  • If only I knew her name.

(vii) ‘If only’ is used to express a wish that past events had been different:

  • If only he had remembered to post that letter.
  • If only I had met her.
  • If only he had spoken the truth.

 (7)Adverbial Clauses of Time:

Adverbial clauses of time are used to say when something happens by referring to a period of time or to another event. The subordinating conjunctions after, before, since, when, while, whenever, till, as, etc. are used.

  • I arrived after he had started.
  • The patient had died before the doctor arrived.
  • I have never seen her since she was ten years old.
  • His father died when he was young.
  • Someone called while you were out.
  • Whenever I smiled, she smiled back.
  • I shall wait here till you return.
  • As I was leaving, the phone rang.         

When we refer to the present or the past, the verb in a time clause has the same sense that it would have in the main clause:

  • She was standing by the door when I heard her speak.
  • I haven’t talked to him since he arrived.
  • He looks after the children while she goes to school.

When we mention an event in a time clause which will happen before an event referred to in the main clause, we use the Present Perfect Tense in the time clause:

  • When you have taken your lunch, you come to me.
  • Inform us as soon as you have reached here.

We use ‘when’, ‘while’, ‘as’ when we refer to circumstances in which something happens or happened:

  • The doors open when I press this button.
  • While he was in the house, there was a loud knock at the door.
  • I watched her as she combed her hair.

We can use ‘when’, ‘after’, ‘once’ to talk about one event happening immediately after another:

  • When he died, his sons came to me for help.
  • The mother goes off in search of food after the eggs have hatched.
  • Once the damage is done, it takes many years for the system to recover.

We use ‘as soon as’ when we want to refer to one event happening after a very short time:

  • They heard a loud explosion as soon as they entered their house.

When we use ‘no sooner’, the time clause begins with ‘than’

  • No sooner had he arrived than he had to leave again.
  • No sooner had he sat down than the phone rang.
  • No sooner had he asked the question than the answer came to him.

When we use ‘hardly’, the time clause begins with ‘when’ or ‘before’:

  • Hardly had he entered the house when the phone rang.
  • She had hardly arrived when she had to leave again.
  • He had hardly opened his eyes before she asked him to leave.

If we want to say that a situation stopped when something happened, we use ‘till’ or ‘until ‘:

  • I waited for her till/until she came back.
  • Let’s wait till/until the rain stops.

We use ‘since’ to refer to a situation that began to exist at a particular time and still exists. We use the Past Simple Tense in the time clause

  • I have not met her since she was a child.
  • They have known each other since he lived there.

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