Subordinate clauses of adverbial positions


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Adverbial clauses are usually classified according to their meaning, that is, according to the relation they bear to the main clause. They differ from nominal and attributive clauses in that they are introduced by conjunctions with a more distinct meaning



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40.Subordinate clauses of adverbial positions.

Adverbial clauses are usually classified according to their meaning, that is, according to the relation they bear to the main clause. They differ from nominal and attributive clauses in that they are introduced by conjunctions with a more distinct meaning. Some types of adverbial clauses may be introduced by at least a dozen different conjunctions (as for instance adverbial clauses of time). On the other hand, many of the conjunctions are used to introduce more than one kind of clause (as, since, that, when, now that). In some cases the meanings and functions of the conjunction are so numerous that it is really difficult to say what the basic meaning of the conjunction is, as its function depends on the meaning of the clauses and their relationship.

Conditional clauses may be joined asyndetically, though they have link-inversion in this case. Here the meaning and function of the clause can be inferred only from the meaning of the subordinate and the main clause.

An adverbial clause may qualify the whole main clause, the verbal predicate or any verbal part, and also parts expressed by an adjective or adverb. Its position therefore varies: it may be initial, medial, or final -depending on the position of the part of the sentence it refers to and on the general structure of the main clause.

Women are very shy when they are expressing their emotions.

One day, because the days were so short, he decided to give up algebra and geometry).

Types of adverbial clauses

§ 164. According to their semantics we distinguish adverbial clauses of place, time, manner, comparison, condition, concession, purpose, cause, result.

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of place

§ 165. An adverbial clause of place defines the place or the direction of the action expressed in the principal clause. It may be introduced by one of the following conjunctions: where, whence, wherever, everywhere (that) and conjunctive adverbs with prepositions. A clause introduced by wherever can express direction as well as position.

He was standing where he always had stood, on the rug before the living-room fire.

From where he stood he could see nothing.

Wherever they came people greeted them enthusiastically.

Why can't we go where it's warm?

He took a chair whence he could see the street.

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of time

§ 166. An adverbial clause of time characterizes the action expressed in the main clause from the temporal point of view. The action may be expressed by a finite or non-finite form of the verb.

An adverbial clause of time may be introduced by conjunctions: as, as soon as, as long as, when, whenever, while, now that, till, until, after, before, since; recently formed conjunctions and phrasal conjunctions: the time (that), the day (that), the moment, the instant, next time, every (each) time, directly, immediately, instantly, once.

Every conjunction in the above list imparts a particular shade of meaning to the temporal relation - priority, simultaneity, succession of actions, the beginning or the end of the action, repetition, coincidence of two actions, gradual development of a process, etc. These temporal relations can be illustrated by the following examples:

When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present. Whenever there was a pause, he gently asked again. (The conjunctions when and whenever introduce clauses expressing repetition.)

As they stood up Ivory clapped him on the shoulder (The clause denotes the moment when the action of the principal clause takes place.)

The conjunctions till and until introduce clauses which fix the end of the action in the main clause if the latter contains no negation, as in:

She resolved to wait till Clym came to look for her.

If the time reference in the subordinate clause with till or until is to a commencement point, the main clause is always negative. For example:

He did not say a word till he was asked.

They did not marry until she was forty.

The boy did not start to read until he went to school.

Corresponding sentences with affirmative main clauses are impossible unless, the conjunction before is used.

*He said a word till he was asked——>He said some words before he was asked.

*They married until she was forty ——>They married before she was forty.

The conjunction since may introduce a clause which indicates the beginning of a period of time continuing until now or until some time in the past. In the first case the present perfect is used in the principal clause, in the second the past perfect. In a temporal clause the past indefinite tense is used in both cases. For example:

I have only seen him once since I left school.

She had been such of a companion to him since she was three years old.

If the actions expressed in both clauses are durative and still continuing, the present perfect tense is used in both the clauses, as in:

Since we have been friends we have never quarrelled.

Conjunctions of recent formation have mainly been formed from nouns denoting time, although some are formed from adverbs denoting time. They are the time, the moment, the instant, immediately, directly and others. Most of them are used to introduce subordinate clauses denoting the exact moment of the action in the main clause or the quick succession of the actions in both clauses.

We'll be married the very moment we find a house.

Immediately he had lain down and closed his eyes, his consciousness went racing on without him.

Directly he saw me, he slipped back into the room.

Some of the temporal conjunctions are not confined to clauses of time. Thus as may be used to join clauses of cause, manner, concession, comparison and also to introduce parenthetic clauses. The conjunction since may introduce clauses of reason. The conjunctions when and while may express adversative relations, in which case they can hardly be considered subordinating conjunctions. When can introduce a clause containing a new piece of information, not prepared for by the preceding narrative, and thus indicates a quick succession of actions. The conjunction whenever generally expresses temporal relations, but the idea of time often mingles with that of concession.

At the sound of that knock she jumped up, when the brass candlestick clattered to the floor. (The conjunction when expresses the quick succession of actions.)

She left the room in the pursuit of her duties, when no duty could have taken her away if she had wished to stay.

His life has been mined for him, when he is but one-and-twenty.

(In the last two sentences the conjunction when expresses a concessive relation.)

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of manner

§ 167. Adverbial clauses of manner characterize actions, states, qualities, circumstances. Therefore they may have different reference. The most common conjunctions to introduce them are as and the way.

Adverbial clauses of manner may have different reference:

I. Adverbial clauses of manner may modify the predicate of the main clause by attributing some quality to it.

I'm sorry I talked the way I did at lunch.

She cooks the turkey exactly as my mother did.

He could do it as no one else could have done.

II. They may refer to attributes or predicatives characterizing a state or quality of a person or non-person.

Astonished, as one could be in such circumstances, he didn't give a sign of it.

He was puzzled by the situation, as one could easily be in his place.

III. They may refer to an adverbial modifier, giving additional information or explanation concerning it.

He said it with contempt, as a grown-up serious man should treat such views.

In the second and the third case the connection between the clauses is rather loose, and the subordinate clause is generally set off by commas.

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of comparison

§ 168. Adverbial clauses of comparison characterize the action expressed by the predicate in the main clause by comparing it with some real or hypothetical circumstance or action.

Clauses of comparison may be introduced by conjunctions as, like, as if, as though, than; correlative conjunctions as... as, so... as, as... as if.

Swithin's pale eyes bulged as though he might suddenly have been afflicted -with insight.

He spoke as timidly as if he were afraid of me.!

An adverbial clause of comparison may correlate with adverbs in the comparative degree in the principal clause. In this case the clause refers to the predicate with its adverbial modifier. Thus in the sentence Mr Direck's broken wrist healed sooner than he desired the subordinate clause characterizes the predicate group healed sooner through comparison. The conjunction than is correlated with the adverb in the comparative degree sooner.

The indicative form can also be used.

They don't have long intervals like they do at other theatres.

Clauses of comparison sometimes have inverted word order.

He was as obstinate as were most of his relatives.

Special mention should be made of cases when two subordinating devices are used to introduce a clause, usually a conjunction and a conjunctive word: than whose, than which, than where, or two conjunctions: than if. They bear double relation to the main clause, one of which is that of comparison.

He is never more present in my work than when no image of him is there, (comparative and temporal relation)

The butler took his tip far more casually, far more naturally than if Dicky had offered to shake hands with him. - чем если бы Дикки протянул ему руку (comparative and conditional relation)

The complex sentence with an .adverbial clause of condition

§ 169. Adverbial clauses of this type contain some condition (cither real or unreal) which makes the action in the main clause possible.

Adverbial clauses of condition may be introduced by conjunctions: if, unless, once, in case. There are also several conjunctions derived from verbal forms sometimes followed by the optional that: provided (that), providing (that), suppose (that), supposing (that), considering (that), given (that), granted (that), granting (that), admitting (that), presuming (that), seeing (that).

Conditional clauses introduced by if and other conjunctions (with the exception of unless) imply uncertainty. Therefore they often contain non-assertive forms of pronouns and pronominal adverbs, such as any, anybody, anything, anywhere.

If anything troubles you, you'd better tell me.

If anyone asks for me, tell him to wait,

Clauses beginning with unless express the only possible condition which will make the action in the main clause possible. Therefore they usually contain assertive forms like something, somebody.

Unless somebody interferes, there may be a disaster.

For the same reason unless-clauses hardly ever express unreal conditions.

The exclusive meaning of unless accounts for the fact that, even if the condition is real, the unless-clause is not always equivalent to an if-not-clause. Thus the sentence: I won't come unless you invite me (я приду, только если вы пригласите меня) and the sentence I won't come if you don't invite me (= я не приду, если вы меня не приглашаете) are quite different in their meaning.

The conjunction provided opens a clause containing some desirable condition for the fullfilment of the action expressed by the predicate in the main clause.

And you can do what you please, provided you do it neatly and don't make a row over it.

The conjunctions suppose and supposing always imply that the condition is merely hypothetical.

I mean this: Suppose some other European pauper prince was anxious to marry Princess Anna and her fortune, wouldn't that Prince have an interest in stopping this loan of yours to Prince Eugen?

Conditional clauses may be joined to the main clause asyndetically by means of link-inversion. Inversion ispossible only if the predicate in the subordinate clause is in the subjunctive mood, that is expressed by past subjunctive (were), or by non-factual Past Perfect.

But had chance taken you out into the surrounding country and had it taken you in the right direction, you would have found him toiling along by the hedges...

§ 170. Depending on the relation between the subordinate and the main clauses and on the use of tense and mood forms, complex sentences with conditional clauses may be subdivided into three types:

I. Complex sentences with clauses of real condition are those when the actions or events in both the clauses refer to the past or present and these actions or events are regarded as real facts. If the actions or events in these clauses refer to the future, the actions or events are regarded as possible real facts.

If f have offended you, I am very sorry.

Why did he send us matches if he knew there was no gas?

If Jules comes back, simply defy him to enter - that is all.

The conditional clause may be a statement for mere argument, no condition is meant.

If she got no money from her brother-in-law, she got what was as good as money - credit.

If Adrian had a passion, indeed, except for Diana Ferse, it was a burning desire to fix that breeding spot.

As can be seen from the above examples, the predicates in conditional clauses may be in the past or present indefinite, present perfect, present or past continuous.

II. Complex sentences with clauses of open condition. These clauses denote hypothetical situations or circumstances which may be (or may not be) realised in the present or future. Accordingly the subjunctive-mood forms are used both in the subordinate and the principal clause to denote actions or states.

In the main clause In the subordinate clause

1. Analytical forms with 1. The present subjunctive (be, go, see, etc.)

should non-perfect or the past subjunctive for all the

would infinitive persons in the singular and plural.

(in Modern English the Of these forms be and were can open

tendency is to use would asyndetically joined clauses.

for all the persons)

In case the state of the patient became worse he would be taken to a hospital.

If I were you, I would change into another dress.

You wouldn't be talking that way unless you were hurt.

2. Quasi-subjunctive-mood forms 2. The non-factual past indefinite

with may (might) + non-perfect infinitive and past continuous.

You might ask her this question if you were less scrupulous.

This might seem to be unreal unless I saw it with my own eyes.

3. The imperative mood. 3. Analytical forms with should + non-perfect

infinitive, (mostly with inversion).

Should he ask for references, tell him to apply to me.

II. Complex sentences with clauses of rejected condition imply non-fulfilment of the condition, as the actions or events described in the conditional clause refer to the past and the time of their realization is over. The condition is generally not even supposed to have been fulfilled, but is stated merely for the sake of argument. The following mood forms are used:

In the main clause In the subordinate clause

analytical forms non-factual past perfect



might + perfect infinitive



If I hadn't woken you, you'd (would) have lain there for the whole fortnight.

She would have been playing her part well unless she had been stiff with fright.

I might have persuaded her to change her mind if she had not been so obstinate.

If the book had been published they could have bought a copy in the shops.

Could he not have missed the train if he had been detained by the director?

The forms with may (might) and could are compound verbal modal predicates in the subjunctive mood.

The non-factual past perfect form may open an asyndetically joined conditional clause (with partial inversion).

Had the colour of the dress been to my taste, I should have bought it.

Had the world been watching, it would have been startled.

§ 171. A complex sentence with a conditional clause may be built on clauses of both type II and III, thus forming a mixed type of conditional relationship. For instance:

If we hadn't been such fools, we would all still be together, (the subordinate clause with reference to the past - type III, the principal clause with reference to the present - type II).

If you were more attentive, you wouldn't have made so many mistakes (the subordinate clause with reference to the present, as it implies somebody's ability to concentrate in general - type II, the main clause with reference to the past - type III).

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of concession

§ 172. In complex sentences with concessive clauses there is a contrast  I between the content of the main clause and that of the subordinate one: the action or fact described in the main clause is carried out or takes place despite the action or state expressed in the subordinate clause.

This type of clause is introduced by conjunctions: although, though, if correlative conjunctions: though...yet, whether...or; соnjunсtive pronouns or adverbs: whoever, whatever, whichever, whenever, wherever (which may stand for almost any part of the sentence), as; or composite соnjunсtiоns: no matter how, no matter what, for all that, despite that, in spite of the fact, despite the fact, even if, even though, even when.

The abundance of means for expressing concessive relations is determined not only by the necessity to differentiate various shades of meaning, but also by the fact that different parts may form the focus of the concessive meaning:

However cynical he was - (The focus is the predicative.)

Сколь бы циничен он ни был...,

Late as it was -

Хотя было поздно...,

как бы ни было поздно...,

Try as he might - (The focus is the notional

Как бы он ни старался..., part of the predicate.)

хотя он и старался работать...,

Whoever may come - (The focus is the subject.)

Кто бы ни пришел...,

Compound conjunctive pronouns and adverbs (whoever, whenever, etc.) impart universal or indefinite meaning to the clause they introduce. Contrast the following sentences:

a) Whenever you come send me a note (any time when...).

b) When you come send me a note (the definite time when...).

There is some similarity between clauses of condition and concession. The difference lies in the fact that whereas conditional clauses state the dependence of one action or circumstance on another, concessive clauses imply a contrast or lack of dependence between them. Thus the following sentences with concessive clauses

Although the weather was bad, he went for a walk.

Although the weather was fine, he did not go for a walk (the second statement is surprising in the light of the first),

may be rephrased using coordinate clauses joined by the contrastive but.

The weather was bad, but he went for a walk.

The weather was fine, but he did not go for a walk.

In complex sentences with a conditional clause the dependence has no contrast.

If the weather was fine he went for a walk. (The second statement results from the first.)

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of purpose     j

§ 173. Clauses of purpose generally express the purpose of the action, which is stated in the main clause. The verb-predicate in the subordinate clause is in the subjunctive mood as it expresses a planned but not a real action. Adverbial clauses of purpose are introduced by conjunctions that, so that, lest, so as, so, in order that, for fear that.I trode on an edging of turf that the crackle of the pebbly gravel might not betray me.

I tell you all this so that you may understand me perfectly.

The conjunctions lest and for fear (that) introduce clauses stating | what is to be prevented, as both the conjunctions have a negative meaning. | Lest is now extremely formal and after this conjunction the analytical) subjunctive with should auxiliary is generally used.

He was like a man who is afraid to look behind him lest he should see something there which ought not to be there.

"It's a bit lighter in the park," he said, "but take it (an electric torch) for fear you get off the path. "

In some cases the meaning of purpose in clauses introduced by lest and for fear that is weakened so that the clause expresses rather general motivation than purpose, or else an outcome of the action in the main clause, as in:

Lest the wall should collapse, they evacuated the building. (They did not evacuate the building with the purpose of causing the wall to collapse.)

Better chain up the dog for fear he bites.

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of cause

§ 174. Adverbial clauses of cause (or causative clauses) express the reason, cause, or motivation of the action expressed in the main clause or of its content as a whole.

Causative clauses may be introduced by the conjunctions as, because, since, so, that, lest, seeing (that), considering; or by the composite conjunctions for the reason that, in view of the fact that, in so far as (insofar as), by reason of. Of these the conjunction as is preferable when the sentence opens with a clause of cause.

As he was tired he preferred to stay at home.

Since there is no help, let us try and bear it as best we can.

They went down arm-in-arm - James with Imogen, because his pretty grandchild cheered him.

In so far as it is difficult to assign an external cause to certain happenings, they are written off as uncaused or spontaneous.

As can be seen from the above examples, the causative clause may stand in preposition to the main clause, or follow it. It may also be embedded within the main clause, as in:

She loved to give, since she had plenty, and sent presentes here and there to Lilian, the children, and others.

Each of the conjunctions and conjunctive phrases expresses я certain shade of causative meaning, and so they are not always interchungcable. Because usually introduces clauses with the meaning of real cause. I his can be illustrated by the ability of beca use-clauses (but not others) to be included in questions. Thus it is correct to say:

Did you ask him because he was famous or for another reason?

But it is wrong to say: * Did you ask him since he was famous.,,?

Unlike because, the conjunctions since and as introduce clauses with an explanatory meaning, or else that of motivation.

Since you are here, we may begin our talk.

The other reason why causal conjunctions, though synonymous, are not always interchangeable with because, is that some of them are polyfunctional: as and since may be conjunctions of time, as well as of cause. For example:

His mood changed as they marched down to the clocks, (temporal relation)

In colloquial English a clause of cause may be joined rather loosely to a sentence which cannot be its main clause: Are you going to the post-office? - Because I have some letters to post. (I ask you this because I have some letters to post.)

The complex sentence with an adverbial clause of result (consequence)

§ 175. An adverbial clause of result denotes some consequence or result of the action expressed in the main clause. It may be introduced by the conjunction so that, or simply that.

Light fell on her there, so that Soames could see her face, eyes, hair, strangely as he remembered them, strangely beautiful.

Clauses with the correlatives so and such (so... that, such... that) may express manner with a shade of resultative meaning and are treated as such. However one should bear in mind that the line of demarcation between cases of so... that and so that is rather difficult to draw when the two words follow one another.


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