What Are Reduced Adverb Clauses and How Do They Work?

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Reduced adverb clauses refer to the shortening of an adverb clause to an adverbial phrase of time, causality, or opposition. Adverb clauses may be reduced only if the subject of both the dependent (the adverb clause) and independent clause are the same. Here are detailed descriptions and instructions on how to reduce each type of adverb clause that has the same subject as the independent clause.

But first, let's take a look at an example of a correct reduced adverb clause. Once you understand how to form reduced adverb clauses, take the reduced adverb clauses quiz to test your understanding. Teachers can use the printable version of this quiz in class.

Correct Reduced Adverb Clause to Adverbial Phrase

  • Because she has a test next week, she is studying very hard. -> Having a test next week, she is studying very hard.

Incorrect Reduced Adverb Clause to Adverbial Phrase

  • Because she has a test next week, her mother is reviewing vocabulary with her. -> Having a test next week, her mother is reviewing vocabulary with her.

In the first example, the dependent adverb clause ("Because she has a test next week") has the same subject as the independent clause ("she is studying very hard."). In the second example, each clause has it's own subject and can not be reduced.

Only Certain Types of Adverb Clauses Can Be Reduced

There are several adverb clauses in English such as adverb clauses of time, causality, opposition, condition, manner, and place. Not all adverb clauses can be reduced. Only adverb clauses of time, causality, and opposition can be reduced. Here are some examples of each type of adverb clause that can be reduced:

Reduced Adverb Clauses of Time

  • Before he bought the house, he did a lot of research. -> Before buying the house, he did a lot of research.
  • After she had lunch, she went back to work. -> After having lunch, she went back to work.

Reduced Adverb Clauses of Causality

  • Because she was late, she excused herself at the meeting -> Being late, she excused herself.
  • As Tom had extra work to do, he stayed late at work. -> Having extra work to do, Tom stayed late at work.

Reduced Adverb Clauses of Opposition

  • Though he had a lot of money, he didn't have many friends.-> Though having a lot of money, he didn't have many friends.
  • Although she was beautiful, she still felt shy. -> Although beautiful, she still felt shy.

Reducing Adverb Clauses of Time

Adverb clauses of time are reduced in different ways depending on the time expression used. Here are the most common:

Before / After / Since

  • Keep the time word
  • Remove the subject
  • Change the verb to the gerund form OR use a noun

Examples:

  • After he took the test, he slept for a long time.-> After taking the test, he slept for a long time OR After the test, he slept for a long time.
  • Since I moved to Rochester, I have gone to the Philharmonic numerous times. -> Since moving to Rochester, I have gone to the Philharmonic numerous times.

As

  • Delete "as"
  • Remove the subject
  • Change the verb to the gerund form

Examples:

  • As I was falling asleep, I thought about my friends in Italy. -> Falling asleep, I thought about my friends in Italy.
  • As she was driving to work, she saw a deer in the road. -> Driving to work, she saw a deer in the road.

As soon as

  • Delete as soon as and replace with "upon" or "on"
  • Remove the subject
  • Change the verb to the gerund form

Examples:

  • As soon as she finished the report, she gave it to the boss. -> Upon finishing the report, she gave it to the boss.
  • As soon as we woke up, we got our fishing poles and went to the lake. -> On waking up, we got our fishing poles and went to the lake.

Reducing Adverb Clauses of Causality

Adverb clauses of causality (providing the reason for something) are introduced by the subordinating conjunctions "because," "since" and "as." Each of these reduce in the same manner.

  • Remove the subordinating conjunction
  • Remove the subject
  • Change the verb to the gerund form

Examples:

  • Because he was late, he drove to work. -> Being late, he drove to work.
  • Since she was tired, she slept in late. -> Being tired, she slept in late.

NOTE: When using the negative form of the verb, place "not" before the gerund when reducing.

Examples:

  • As he didn't want to disturb her, he left the room quickly. -> Not wanting to disturb her, he left the room quickly.
  • Because she didn't understand the question, she asked the teacher for some help. -> Not understanding the question, she asked the teacher for some help.

Reducing Adverb Clauses of Opposition

Adverb clauses of opposition beginning with "though," "although," or "while" can be reduced in the following manner:

  • Keep the subordinating conjunction
  • Remove the subject and the verb "be"
  • Keep the noun or adjective
  • OR change the verb to the gerund form

Examples:

  • (adjective) While he was a happy man, he had many serious problems. -> While happy, he had many serious problems.
  • (noun) Though she was an excellent student, she failed to pass the test. ->Though an excellent student, she failed to pass the test.
  • (gerund) Although he had a car, he decided to walk.-> Although having a car, he decided to walk.