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  1. #1
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    Post Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    A lot of my students are confused about clauses, conjunctions and the use of the subjunctive (which, contrary to popular opinion, does exist in English). This is an explanation that I use with my upper-intermediate to advanced students and it seems to really help them.



    Adverb Clauses


    • When Alan comes home, he usually has a sandwich.
    • When Alan comes home, we will talk about it.


    What is the difference?

    1. When Alan comes home, he usually has a sandwich is an Adjective Clause
    When replaces a time (in + year, in + month, on + day,...). It cannot be a subject. It can be omitted. Here is an example with when:
    I will never forget the day. + I graduated on that day.=
    I will never forget the day when I graduated.

    “When I graduated” modifies me.
    In the first example, “He usually has a sandwich” modifies Alan.


    2. When Alan comes home, we will talk about it is an Adverb Clause

    WHEN talks about the time that we need or want something to happen. It is the subject of the subordinate clause. We need Alan to come home before we can talk about it.

    I’ll have a big party when I graduate. or When I graduate, I’ll have a big party.

    Having the party is dependent on graduating. When I graduate is the subject of the subordinate clause.

    In the first example, our talking about it depends on Alan coming home.

    Adverb Clauses of Time:

    Billy couldn’t swim.
    He jumped off the pier. (contrast)

    Although Billy couldn’t swim, he jumped off the pier.

    Billy jumped off the pier although he couldn’t swim.
    The subordinators in adverb clauses are called subordinating conjunctions. They cannot be omitted. They cannot be subjects. Here are some of the subordinating conjunctions:
    Time: after, before, when, while, as, by the time, whenever, since, until, as soon as, once, as long as
    Cause and effect: because, since, now that, as, as long as, inasmuch as, so (that), in order that
    Contrast: although, even though, though, whereas, while
    Condition: if, unless, only if, whether or not, even if, providing (that), provided (that), in case, in the event (that).

    After he took lessons, George could swim well.
    George could swim well after he took lessons.

    Because he couldn’t swim, Billy drowned.
    Billy drowned because he couldn’t swim.

    Although he isn’t interested in food, Fred works as a cook.
    Fred works as a cook although he isn’t interested in food.

    If you want to write well, you must practice.
    You must practice if you want to write well.


    If this helps, let me know. If you want more, I've got tons. If you notice any mistakes or improvement opportunities, please feel free to bash me. Take care.

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    The most serious errors here:

    1) Regarding

    When Alan comes home, he usually has a sandwich.
    When Alan comes home, we will talk about it.

    The subordinate clause is adverbial in both!

    2) “When I graduated” modifies me.

    No, it modifies 'day'! (The word 'me' does not even occur in the sentence!!)

    3) In the first example, “He usually has a sandwich” modifies Alan.

    It is a contradiction in terms to speak of a main clause 'modifying' anything!!!


    You seem to be inviting an honest response, and so, for your sake and that of your students, I trust you will not take offence at my offering one: I have rarely seen such a collection of fundamental errors and misconceptions about English grammar crammed into the space of a single post. What makes things far worse is that this is apparently being offered up as instructional material!

    If the above is indicative of your level of understanding of grammatical terms and concepts, I would seriously advise you to give up teaching grammar altogether!!
    Last edited by philo2009; 23-Sep-2009 at 07:44.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    You're brutal. I was looking for honest answers, which I guess I got. But I'm not wrong here.

    I didn't want to bring it up because it creates confusion, but the use of the subjunctive in English comes to light when we deal with this. The first clause in an adjective clause in that it doesn't require anything to happen before something else does. This is a present simple adjective clause.

    The second one is a requirement in order for something else to happen. This is an adverb clause.

    Now, as far as your tortuously brutal remarks, I might submit that this information comes directly from the Owl at Purdue site, which is largely considered an expert in English grammar.

    Thanks again for your post.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by dricha17 View Post
    You're brutal. I was looking for honest answers, which I guess I got. But I'm not wrong here.

    I didn't want to bring it up because it creates confusion, but the use of the subjunctive in English comes to light when we deal with this. The first clause in an adjective clause in that it doesn't require anything to happen before something else does. This is a present simple adjective clause.

    The second one is a requirement in order for something else to happen. This is an adverb clause.

    Now, as far as your tortuously brutal remarks, I might submit that this information comes directly from the Owl at Purdue site, which is largely considered an expert in English grammar.

    Thanks again for your post.
    The criticisms philo2009 makes seem sound to me. I would not necessarily endorse his summing up, nor would I dismiss it out of hand. It's probably best to teach only those things you know.
    Writing something absurd like:
    1. When Alan comes home, he usually has a sandwich is an Adjective Clause
    when it's actually a whole sentence with two clauses, has to be the type of behaviour that would confuse any child trying to learn. You then confuse the main clause with the subordinate clause.

    Can you post the link to the Purdue page where you found this definition and example of an adjective clause?

  5. #5
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by dricha17 View Post
    You're brutal. I was looking for honest answers, which I guess I got. But I'm not wrong here.

    I didn't want to bring it up because it creates confusion, but the use of the subjunctive in English comes to light when we deal with this. The first clause in an adjective clause in that it doesn't require anything to happen before something else does. This is a present simple adjective clause.

    The second one is a requirement in order for something else to happen. This is an adverb clause.

    Now, as far as your tortuously brutal remarks, I might submit that this information comes directly from the Owl at Purdue site, which is largely considered an expert in English grammar.

    Thanks again for your post.
    As "brutal" as they may seem, my comments were intended constructively. It is unfortunate that you were not able to take them that way.

    In any case, I have nothing to add to or to subtract from them, and, if you are intent on persisting in your incorrect analyses and misuse of terminology, that is your own sad affair. I can only feel pity for any students paying you good money only to have you fill their heads with such utter rubbish!!!

    EOC

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    Hello dricha17

    I would apologize for the unwelcoming and hostile tone your post initially received; however, you did in fact kind of ..., well sort of invite it with:

    If you notice any mistakes or improvement opportunities, please feel free to bash me.
    I won't bash.


    Allow me to provide 'improvement opportunities' to aid you and your students.

    It appears that what you're looking at is the function and distribution of relative adverbs.


    • I will never forget the day when I graduated.


    The adverb when refers back to the phrase the day which makes it a relative adverb, which can be omitted by the way if it is redundant:


    • I will never forget the day I graduated.


    Note that speakers might replace when with that because the phrase it refers back to appears nominal:


    • I will never forget the day that I graduated.
    • I will never forget the day I graduated.



    Going back to your first example, "When Alan comes home, he usually has a sandwich", here when is not a relative adverb. It cannot refer back to the noun a sandwich and for that reason cannot be omitted:


    • Alan usually has a sandwich when he comes home.
    • Alan usually has a sandwich he comes home.



    But we can make it into a relative adverb:


    • Alan usually has a sandwich at the time when he comes home.
    • Alan usually has a sandwich at the time he comes home.

    Above, when refers back to at the time, and that makes it a relative adverb. Omit it and the sentence remains grammatical.


    The same holds true here:

    We will talk about it when Alan comes home. <not a relative adverb>
    We will talk about it Alan comes home.
    We will talk about it at the time when Alan comes home. <relative adverb>
    We will talk about it at the time Alan comes home.



  7. #7
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    OK, I'll admit that I might have gotten a little ahead of myself and the link where I got the info was not actually Purdue, but DeAnza College http://faculty.deanza.edu/flemingjohn/stories/storyReader$20

    The reason I liked this example is because of its simplicity, not absurdity. And it does make sense.

    The way I teach it (specifically to Spanish speakers) is that the adverb clause uses the subjunctive in the present tense to talk about a future event being dependent on something else happening. "When Alan comes home, we will talk about it", shows this very clearly. This implies that we can't talk about it until Alan comes home, which would be another example of an adverb clause.

    Now, if I'm wrong, I completely and wholeheartedly apologize. But this has worked very well for me and my students completely dominate adjective and adverb clauses and can use them on a communicative basis after getting this explanation. Isn't that what teaching is all about?

    In response to all of your comments, some were more easily read than others. Thank you for all of your input.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Adverb vs. Adjective Clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by dricha17 View Post
    The way I teach it (specifically to Spanish speakers) is that the adverb clause uses the subjunctive in the present tense to talk about a future event being dependent on something else happening.
    Yes, that's correct, but only if you are teaching Spanish grammar, not English grammar:



    Use of the Subjunctive in Spanish
    Adverbial clauses give information such as “when”, “why”, “how” or “where” something happens. The verb in an adverbial clauses will be in the subjunctive if the action/state in the clause is anticipated —that is, viewed as being in the future in comparison to the action/state represented by the governing verb.


    Ex: Cuando termines la tarea iremos al cine.

    Translation: <When you finish the homework, we'll go to the movies.> [Subj.: anticipated action]

    Note, the Spanish verb termines is in the subjunctive; the English verb finish is not; Cf. When she finishes, we will go to the movies.


    Source http://www.123teachme.com/learn_spanish/use_of_the_subjunctive_1

    Learn more here

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