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What Is a Dependent Adverb Clause? (with Examples)

What Is a Dependent Adverb Clause? (with Examples)

A dependent adverb clause (or subordinate adverb clause) is a dependent clause that plays the role of an adverb. For example:
  • The otter surfaced occasionally.
  • (This is a normal adverb.)
  • The otter surfaced when we looked the other way.
  • (This is a dependent adverb clause.)
Like all dependent clauses, a dependent adverb clause cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. Like all clauses, it will include a subject and a verb.

Examples of Dependent Adverb Clauses

Here are some examples of dependent adverb clauses (shaded):

A Dependent Adverb Clause as an Adverb of Time
  • Press the button when I say I'm ready.
  • Press the button now.
  • (The word now is a normal adverb of time.)
A Dependent Adverb Clause as an Adverb of Manner
  • The shark circled like it meant business.
  • The shark circled menacingly.
  • (The word menacingly is a normal adverb of manner.)
A Dependent Adverb Clause as an Adverb of Place
  • Charlie used to run where his father ran as a boy.
  • Charlie used to run here.
  • (The word here is a normal adverb of place.)
  • Charlie used to run in the park.
  • (The phrase in the park is an adverbial phrase.)
Read more about adverbs.

As well as playing the role of an adjective, a dependent clause can act as an adjective or a noun.

Read more about dependent clauses.

The Link between a Dependent Clause and an Independent Clause

The link between a dependent adverb clause and an independent clause will often be a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. For example:
  • We used to read until the candles went out.
  • (subordinating conjunction in bold)
  • The boy who won the lottery had only just turned 16.
  • (relative pronoun in bold)
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