Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The adverb clause

A dependent clause:
  1. Has a subject.
  2. Has a verb.
  3. Is not a complete sentence without an accompanying independent clause.

There are three types of dependent clauses (also called subordinate clauses):
  1. The noun clause.
  2. The adverb clause.
  3. The adjective clause (also called the relative clause).
The adverb clause
  1. Takes the place of an adverb by answering:
    1. When?
    2. Where?
    3. Why?
    4. How?
  2. Just like an adverb, adverb clauses can be moved around the sentence and still make sense.
  3. Can be completely removed from the sentence, and the sentence will still make sense.
  4. Is introduced with a subordinating conjunction.
  5. Almost always introduces or ends a sentence.
  6. When appearing at the beginning of a sentence, adverb clauses are separated from the independent clause with a comma.
  7. Adverb clauses are not separated from the independent clause with a comma when appearing at the end of a sentence ...
    • Unless they contradict the independent clause. Then stick the comma in there.
    • Contradictory dependent clauses can only be introduced by one of five contradictory subordinate conjunctions:
      1. Although.
      2. Even though.
      3. Though
      4. Whereas.
      5. While.
Before I go to bed, I brush my teeth.
I brush my teeth before I go to bed.
He eats chocolate, even though it gives him a stomach ache.
The dangerous elliptical clause
An elliptical clause is a grammatical error. It is a dependent clause missing either the subject or verb.
While surfing, my surf board was attacked by a shark.
While surfing initially appears to be an adverb clause. However, dependent clauses have a subject and a verb.  Participles can have a verb without a subject, but they are strictly adjectives. Infinitives can have just a verb, but they always start with to. Gerunds can only act as nouns. So this clause is actually nothing at all.

This is called an elliptical clause or a dangling verbal. 

Simply add a subject to the dependent clause to correct the error. And while we're correcting the clause, let's go ahead and fix the passive voice as well.
While I was surfing, a shark attacked my surf board.
Or my preference ...
A shark attacked my surf board while I was surfing.

44 Subordinating Conjunctions

  1. after
  2. although
  3. as
  4. as if
  5. as long as
  6. as much as
  7. as soon as
  8. as though
  9. because
  10. before
  11. but that
  12. even if
  13. even though
  14. ever since
  15. how
  16. if
  17. in case
  18. in order that
  19. inasmuch  
  20. lest
  21. no matter
  22. now that
  23. provided (that)  
  24. since
  25. so
  26. so that
  27. supposing
  28. than
  29. that
  30. though
  31. till
  32. unless
  33. until
  34. what
  35. when
  36. whenever
  37. where
  38. whereas
  39. wherever
  40. whether
  41. which
  42. while
  43. who
  44. why


  1. I'm not gonna lie to you. This is awfully dry, but my English-Second-Laguage ass is learning a lot.