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)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited and printed to create exercise worksheets.

See Also

What are dependent clauses? What are independent clauses? What are clauses? What are phrases? What are adverbs? What are subordinating conjunctions? What are relative pronouns? Glossary of grammatical terms