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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Exclamation Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    Hi, teachers, I really need help in understanding this.

    First let's look at 2 sentences.

    1) Can you tell me something about Darwin when we are at dinner tonight?
    2) Can you tell me something about Darwin when he was a child?

    Obviously the underline part in #1 is a adverbial clause that modifies the verb "tell", which indicate the time to "tell".
    #1 can also be written as:
    "When we are at dinner tonight, can you tell me something about Darwin?"

    However, what about the underline part of #2? Let's change the sentense to:
    "When Darwin was a child, can you tell me something about him?"

    That sounds really strange. I have a strong confidence that it's also a adverbial clause, but I have been looking and searching for articles, but can't find examples which the advebial clause is in past tense while the independent clause stays in present tense.
    Also, it obviously doesn't indicate the time to "tell", but rather sounds like modifying the noun "Darwin", which really throws me off.

    Please can someone explain to me what kind of role is the underline part in #2 playing? Why it is so different than #1? I've been spending hours to figure out an answer on my own but it's getting really frustrated. So I am truly thankful for that!


    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 73
    #2

    Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pixel View Post
    Hi, teachers, I really need help in understanding this.

    First let's look at 2 sentences.

    1) Can you tell me something about Darwin when we are at dinner tonight?
    2) Can you tell me something about Darwin when he was a child?

    Obviously the underline part in #1 is a adverbial clause that modifies the verb "tell", which indicate the time to "tell".
    #1 can also be written as:
    "When we are at dinner tonight, can you tell me something about Darwin?"

    However, what about the underline part of #2? Let's change the sentense to:
    "When Darwin was a child, can you tell me something about him?"

    That sounds really strange. I have a strong confidence that it's also a adverbial clause, but I have been looking and searching for articles, but can't find examples which the advebial clause is in past tense while the independent clause stays in present tense.
    Also, it obviously doesn't indicate the time to "tell", but rather sounds like modifying the noun "Darwin", which really throws me off.

    Please can someone explain to me what kind of role is the underline part in #2 playing? Why it is so different than #1? I've been spending hours to figure out an answer on my own but it's getting really frustrated. So I am truly thankful for that!
    the first clearly is an adverbial clause of time. you can this by just looking at the adverb (when).
    the second isn't an adverbial clause, as an adverbial clause modifies a verb. this sentence modifies the word Darwin. I think the part "when he was young" is an apposition because it tells something more about a noun.

  2. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #3

    Exclamation Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    Quote Originally Posted by meee View Post
    the first clearly is an adverbial clause of time. you can this by just looking at the adverb (when).
    the second isn't an adverbial clause, as an adverbial clause modifies a verb. this sentence modifies the word Darwin. I think the part "when he was young" is an apposition because it tells something more about a noun.
    Maybe that's not an adverbial clause, but I don't think that's an apposition either. Because an appositive phrase is an appositive plus any words that modify the appositive (Grammar and Composition Handbook). "When" can't be an appositive since it's not a noun, so that's not an appositive phrase.

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    #4

    Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    ***NOT A TEACHER***Can you tell me something about Darwin (when he was a child)? (1) Most books call "when he was a child" an adjective clause because it refers to "Darwin." (2) Most books call "when" in that kind of sentence a relative adverb because (a) "when" modifies "was" and it connects "he was a child" to "Darwin." This is just a short way to say: Can you tell me something about Darwin at the time that he was a child?


    • Join Date: Nov 2009
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    #5

    Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    Quote Originally Posted by pixel View Post
    Hi, teachers, I really need help in understanding this.

    First let's look at 2 sentences.

    1) Can you tell me something about Darwin when we are at dinner tonight?
    2) Can you tell me something about Darwin when he was a child?

    Obviously the underline part in #1 is a adverbial clause that modifies the verb "tell", which indicate the time to "tell".
    #1 can also be written as:
    "When we are at dinner tonight, can you tell me something about Darwin?"

    However, what about the underline part of #2? Let's change the sentense to:
    "When Darwin was a child, can you tell me something about him?"

    That sounds really strange. I have a strong confidence that it's also a adverbial clause, but I have been looking and searching for articles, but can't find examples which the advebial clause is in past tense while the independent clause stays in present tense.
    Also, it obviously doesn't indicate the time to "tell", but rather sounds like modifying the noun "Darwin", which really throws me off.

    Please can someone explain to me what kind of role is the underline part in #2 playing? Why it is so different than #1? I've been spending hours to figure out an answer on my own but it's getting really frustrated. So I am truly thankful for that!

    Hi!

    I'm not a teacher.

    Happy New Year!

    1) Can you tell me something about Darwin when we are at dinner tonight?
    2) Can you tell me something about Darwin when he was a child?

    My answer is like that:

    Both sentences have a prepositional phrase about Darwin which in the first sentence is not modified, stands alone whereas the adverbial clause "when we are at dinner tonight" modifies the verb "tell". In the second sentence, however, the prepositional phrase about Darwin doesn't stand alone but is modified by the adverbial clause "when he was a child".
    Last edited by omasta; 01-Jan-2010 at 01:50.

  3. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    I suggest that, although "when he was a child" looks like it must be adverbial, you consider it adjectival, much like the prepositional phrase "as a child" would be.


    • Join Date: Nov 2009
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    #7

    Re: Help with this weird subordinate clause!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    I suggest that, although "when he was a child" looks like it must be adverbial, you consider it adjectival, much like the prepositional phrase "as a child" would be.
    Hi!

    Happy New Year!

    Yes, I agree, it is, somehow, strange construction in which an adverbial clause adjectivally modify the noun "Darwin" in the prepositional phrase "about Darwin".
    Last edited by omasta; 01-Jan-2010 at 01:47.

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