English - adverbial clauses of reason
What is a simple definition of an ‘adverb’?
A very simple definition is that it adds extra information to the verb.
That's the basic unit we will consider - the adverb. But it's never that simple.
We'll look at little bit at Adverbial Clauses, and in particular, adverb clauses of cause or reason.
These clauses simply give a cause or a reason for something which is described in a sentence.
In every language, we talk using these, probably every day. So although you might not know the proper name, you have certainly used them :)
Let's see how we can identify - or spot - an adverbial clause of cause or reason.
Does anyone already know?
Adverb clauses of cause or reason are introduced by the subordinating conjunctions - these: because, as, since and that.
So, when we see those easy words, used in a compound sentence (a sentence of two clauses) or a complex sentence (2 or more clauses), we are likely to see an adverbial clause.
Here are some examples - some of which you might even have used!
I sing because I like singing.
The adverbial clause is in bold.
Here's another example: He thinks he can get anything because he is rich.
There are other ways to say the same thing (such as "He is rich: he thinks he can get anything." but that's not an adverbial clause).
Here's another example of an adverbial clause of cause or reason: As he was not there I left a message with his mother.
You can see that the adverbial clauses all start with one of those subordinating conjunctions (because, since, as, that).
Here is an example which uses the word 'that': I am glad that you have come.
The word 'that' can often be left out (Americans do it all the time) so we could also say:
I am glad you have come.
In British English people use the word 'that' much more.
Both forms are 100% correct, but the American version doesn't give you the clue ("that") that an adverbial clause is coming.
This example is another with the word 'that': My parents were disappointed that I didn’t get the scholarship.
It means exactly the same as 'My parents were disappointed I didn’t get the scholarship.'
It's only the variety of the language.
But the other conjunctions usually need to be used.
What is a simple definition of an ‘conjunction’?
A connecting word. It joins together (or connects) two parts of a sentence.
Very simply - a conjunction is like the glue that sticks two parts of a sentence together.
Here's a couple of examples:
I am glad you like it. OR: I am glad that you like it.
They were disappointed you weren’t in. OR: They were disappointed that you weren’t in.
'that' is a connecting word, and also shows us that an adverbial clause is coming.
Another example would be: It was raining so hard that we rushed inside the house.
There's so many different ways in every language. Sometimes though, there are certain conjunctions we need to use in certain sentences.
For example: As it is raining again we will have to cancel the match.
We already know it's raining, so we use 'as’.
As and since-clauses are relatively formal. In an informal style, the same idea can be expressed with the word so.
It is raining again, so we will have to cancel the match.
If we already know a situation, we use as or so. But if we do not have certain information, we use because.
Because-clauses are used to give information which isn’t already known to the reader or listener.
For example: Because he had not paid the bill, his electricity was cut off.
We, the reader or listener, didn't know before why his electricity was stopped (cut off). It could be many reasons - broken wire, broken equipment, something.
But the word 'because' begins the adverbial phrase which gives us the information that he had not paid his electricity bill - the reason why the supply of electricity was cut off.
Now, some adverbial clauses can stand on their own, as answers or statements.
For example: Why are you looking at her like that?’ ‘Because she smiled at me.’
For that, you cannot say As she smiled at me. or Since she smiled at me.
It just would not make sense.