Adverb Clause


Adverb clauses provide information about other parts of the sentence. They explain why, when, and under which conditions something happens.

These examples help understand their use:

 why: I quit my job because I didn’t like the company.

 when: Apples are picked after they ripen.

 condition: He keeps eating eggs every day even though he knows they’re high in cholesterol.

 condition: I will help you if I have time.

Adverb clauses form complex sentences, so you can also reverse the order of the clause–just use a comma (,)

If I have time, I will help you.

After they ripen, apples are picked.

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Noun Clause


A noun clause is a clause (containing a subject and a verb) that can replace a noun.

The examples below show how they are used:

I don’t know her. (not a noun clause)

I don’t know who she is.

I don’t know where she lives.

I don’t know when she moved to the United States.

Noun clauses often use words such as when, what, why, who and other question words, but the speaker may or may not be making a question.

You can also begin a sentence with a noun clause:

Why he did that is a mystery.

(It is a mystery)

What she’s doing is very interesting.

(That is very interesting.)

A good knowledge of noun clauses will help your English, but it’s important to practice their use.

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Complex Sentences

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A complex sentence is made from an independent clause and a dependent clause joined together.

Some examples:

After I came home, I made dinner.

(dependent clause: “After I came home”)

(indpendent clause: I made dinner)

We visited the museum before it closed.

(dependent clause: before it closed.)

(independent clause: We visited the museum)

Complex sentences are often formed by putting these words at the beginning of the dependent clause: as, as if, before, after, because, though, even though, while, when, whenever, if, during, as soon as, as long as, since, until, unless, where, and wherever. These words are called subordinating conjunctions.

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Compound Sentences


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A compound sentence is made by joining two independent clauses together with a conjunction.

Some examples:

  • John bought some new shoes, and he wore them to a party.
  • Lydia liked her new house, but she didn’t like the front yard.
  • We can go see a movie, or we can get something to eat.

Notice that in each example, there is a subject and a verb in each independent clause. These sentences can be changed by removing the subject:

  • John bought some new shoes and wore them to a party.
  • Lydia liked her new house but not the front yard.
  • We can go see a movie or get something to eat.

These are still good sentences, but by removing the subject from one part of them, they are no longer compound sentences.

Compound sentences are often formed with these coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, yet, so, and ; (the semi-colon). Learn more about conjunctions in Red Level Lesson Fifteen.

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