although, because, before, if, since, than, unless, while
Clauses are groups of words that contain a subject and a verb. Clauses can be independent or dependent. Independent clauses can stand alone as complete thoughts, and dependent clauses can't. Dependent clauses must be connected to independent clauses in order to make sense. There are three types of dependent clauses: adverb clauses, adjective clauses, and noun clauses.
Adverb clauses are dependent clauses that act as adverbs. That means the whole clause modifies a verb, adjective, or an adverb from another clause.
He whistled while he walked.
He whistled is an independent clause, and while he walked is a dependent adverb clause. The dependent adverb clause is modifying the verb whistled from the independent clause, and it is being introduced by the subordinating conjunction while.
Notice that the whole clause tells us more about the verb whistled. It tells us when he whistled. (Are you familiar with the adverb questions? Dependent adverb clauses answer the adverb questions.)
If you'd like to learn more about these topics before you start diagramming them, check out these pages for more help:
To diagram sentences with adverb clauses, start by identifying and diagramming the independent clause. Then, find the dependent adverb clause. Diagram the adverb clause below the independent clause, and connect the two clauses with a slanted, dotted line. Put the subordinating conjunction on the dotted line.
My mom smiled whenI made dinner.
Directions: Diagram the following sentences. All of these sentences contain dependent adverb clauses and subordinating conjunctions.
The adverb clauses in these exercises modify the verbs in the independent clauses. Because of this, the slanted, dotted line should come off of the verb in the independent clause.