3

Please tell me what the difference is between an adverbial phrase and an adverbial clause.

  • 2
    An adverbial clause has a verb and often a subject (you can always tell what the subject is, but it isn't always present). An adverbial phrase is what's left after an adverbial clause has been chewed up. – John Lawler Nov 9 '13 at 20:42
  • Thank you John. My last question is about adverb phrase and adverbial phrase. Are they both same? please forgive me for this kind of questions.I can read English but my grammar is very bad. – JUST16 Nov 9 '13 at 20:56
  • 3
    Different terminology for the same thing. Anything that specifies time, place, circumstances, manner, instrument, and anything else peripheral to the skeletal matter of who did what to whom, can be thought of as an adverbial of some kind. The difference between a clause or a phrase or a single word is structural, not functional. They all act the same way -- they can be niched in many different places in the sentence since they're really hung on the grammatical skeleton instead of being part of it. Most of them can be expanded or contracted ad libitum. – John Lawler Nov 9 '13 at 21:21
  • 1
    ... and grammarians can't agree on rigorous definitions (is [trying for all he was worth] a non-finite participial clause or phrase?) see Nordquist – Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '13 at 21:56
  • 3
    That depends on whether you mean all grammarians. And who they're talking to. Amongst ourselves, we know what we're talking about, because we always give examples, or because we know the particular dialect that somebody speaks natively. In textbooks, however, the intelligence of the author usually takes a deep dive, to match the expected background of the reader. That's one of many reasons why I like McCawley's work. – John Lawler Nov 10 '13 at 17:17
3

Essentially Both are Modifiers - which provide additional information.

Adverbial Clause always has a Subject and Verb and provides more information about the verb, adjective,adverb. It answers questions: How, when, where, why, to what extent, in what manner etc.

They start with a subordinating conjunction (e.g. because, when, although , provided that, as long as etc.) which joins otherwise independent clauses by creating relationships between them.

e.g. When the Monkey screamed, people got frightened.

In the above example When The monkey screamed is the adverbial clause. Here, The Monkey Screamed,an independent clause, combined with the subordinating clause 'When' is providing more information on why the people got frightened.

While, Adverbial phrases are of pattern Verbal + additional words (usually Noun/pronoun or another prepositional phrase). They function to create compact prose and variety/style in otherwise wordy sentences.

e.g.

  1. Looking lonely, Tom Walked into the room

The above example uses a present participial Phrase to economically express the two events which happened simultaneously.

Tom Walked in to the Room. He looked lonely.

The Phrase looking lonely doesn't have a subject - which can be determined by asking the question who looked lonely ?

Present Participial Phrases are used for events which happen simultaneously, Other tenses are possible as show below which can be used for different references of time :

  1. Past Participial : The audience, moved by the senators speech, clapped enthusiastically.

  2. Present Perfect : Having thought it over carefully , she decided not to apply.

P.S. Examples taken from

  1. Grammar Desk Reference by Gary Lutz and Diane Stevenson
0

Adverbial clause explains the verb more accurately than adverbial phrase for example

When they reached home they were very tired.

The above example is clause it tells when something happenend

He was tired after the journey

It is a phrase which does not explain when something happened

-1

A Clause is one of components in a sentence and retains the sentence structure--subject+verb+...

For example:

I woke up when the alarm clock went off. "when the alarm clock went off" is actually an adverbial clause.

The term "phrase" has wide and narrow definitions, but for clause, a phrase can mean a sentence component not having a sentence structure such as the participle and infinitive as well as prepositional phrases.

For example I am glad to see you. "to see you" is an adverbial phrase.

Speaking of winter, he always goes skiing. "speaking of winter" is an adverbial phrase.

Someone called me in the middle of the night. "in the middle of the night" is an adverbial phrase.

-1

Kindly permit me to mention, pro bono publico, that John Lawler wrote in (potentially ephemeral) comments above regarding the matter of adverbial phrases versus adverbial clauses, the following synopsis:

An adverbial clause has a verb and often a subject (you can always tell what the subject is, but it isn't always present). An adverbial phrase is what’s left after an adverbial clause has been chewed up.

Whether further queried as to any distinction between an adverb phrase and an adverbial phrase, the good doctor replied as follows:

Different terminology for the same thing. Anything that specifies time, place, circumstances, manner, instrument, and anything else peripheral to the skeletal matter of who did what to whom, can be thought of as an adverbial of some kind. The difference between a clause or a phrase or a single word is structural, not functional. They all act the same way — they can be niched in many different places in the sentence since they’re really hung on the grammatical skeleton instead of being part of it. Most of them can be expanded or contracted ad libitum.

Then finally on the matter of grammarians being unable to agree on rigorous definitions, he lastly added:

That depends on whether you mean all grammarians. And who they're talking to. Amongst ourselves, we know what we’re talking about, because we always give examples, or because we know the particular dialect that somebody speaks natively. In textbooks, however, the intelligence of the author usually takes a deep dive, to match the expected background of the reader. That’s one of many reasons why I like McCawley’s work.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.