Writing More Effectively

Adverb Clauses

We use adverb clauses to show relationship between two ideas. For example, let’s look at these two sentences.

She enjoys going to restaurants. She doesn’t like trying new foods.

To show relationship, we can add the subordinator although to the first sentence and make it into a adverb clause and change the period to a comma to create a complex sentence.

Although she enjoys going to restaurants, she doesn’t like trying new foods.

The subordinator although shows a contrast between the two ideas.

Reducing Adverb Clauses

We can sometimes reduce adverb clauses to a phrase making sentences flow smoother.

For example.

While she was eating in the restaurant, she met an old friend.

We reduce this sentence by omitting the subject (she) and the helping verb (was), and use the verb + –ing.

While eating in the restaurant, she met an old friend.

More examples.

After they finished the meeting, they went to get something to eat.

After finishing the meeting, they went to the get something to eat.

Before the team made their announcement, they made sure everyone was paying attention.

Before making their announcement, the team made sure everyone was paying attention.

Notice the pronoun, they, in the second clause was replace by the subject, the team, in the first clause.

Reducing Clauses that Give Reasons

When we use subordinators that give reasons, such as because or since, we omit the subordinator and the subject, and use the verb + –ing.

When the verb in the adverb clause is in the simple past form, omit the subordinator and the subject, and use the verb + –ing.

When the verb in the adverb clause is in the present or past perfect form, omit the subordinator and the subject, and change have or has to having.

For example.

Because he turned in his homework late, he didn’t pass the class.

Turning in his homework late, he didn’t pass the class.

Because she has bought a new car, she hasn’t be late for work.

Having bought a new car, she hasn’t been late for work.

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past thirteen years. He has experience teaching business English and conversational English in Asia and teaching academic English at the university level in the United States.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University. SkillCourse was started in 2009 to help university students achieve better academic scores and understand American expectations. Today, SkillCourse still exists for the same reasons and offers a full reading and writing program to assist students in their university course.

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