reduced adverb(ial) clause

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

When threatened is a reduced adverbial clause, even though the implied subject of the adverbial clause (a democracy) is not the same as the subject of the main clause (the first thing).

Definition

In English grammar, a reduced adverb clause is an adverb(ial) clause that has been shortened to a phrase, usually by omitting its subject and a form of be.

In conventional usage, an adverb clause can be reduced to a phrase only when the subject of the adverb clause is the same as the subject of the independent clause. But there are exceptions.

See Examples and Observations below. Also see:

 

Examples and Observations

  • "Study the examples below to see how adverb clauses are reduced:
    1. Time sequences with after, before, once, since, until, when, and while:

    After they sang two songs, the performers did a dance. [clause]
    After singing two songs, the performers did a dance. [phrase]

    Before he answered the phone, he grabbed a pencil and notepad. [clause]
    Before answering the phone, he grabbed a pencil and notepad. [phrase] . . .

    2. Giving reasons with because
    When a clause introduced by because is reduced, because is omitted and the verb changes form:

    Because she had always been interested in sports, Linda became an avid supporter of the team. [clause]
    Having always been interested in sports, Linda became an avid supporter of the team. [phrase]

    3. Clauses of concession with although, despite, in spite of, though, and while:

    Although he was hurt, Jack managed to smile. [clause]
    Although hurt, Jack managed to smile. [phrase] . . .

    In spite of the fact that she works long hours, Joan spends a lot of time with her family. [clause]
    In spite of working long hours, Joan spends a lot of time with her family. [phrase] . . .
    The verb in a reduced adverb clause can be in one of two forms. The -ing form is used for the active voice, and the -ed form (the past participle) is used for the passive voice."
    (Jolene Gear and Robert Gear, Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL® Test, 4th ed. Cambridge University Press, 2006)

     
  • While I was away in college, I stayed with my roommate's family during one spring break. [clause]
    While away in college, I stayed with my roommate's family during one spring break. [phrase]

     
  • When she is working at home, Carla takes her youngest child to school in the morning. [clause]
    When working at home, Carla takes her youngest child to school in the morning. [phrase]

     
  • Although Marc Bloch was impressed by the bravery of his fellow soldiers, he had harsh words for the army leadership. [clause]
    "Although impressed by the bravery of his fellow soldiers, Bloch had harsh words for the army leadership." [phrase]
    (Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Fifty Key Thinkers on History, 2nd ed. Routledge, 2008)

     
  • Types of Phrases
    "A full adverbial clause . . . is reduced to a nonfinite clause by the deletion of the subject and whatever form of be it contains. This means that reduced adverbial clauses consist of a subordinating conjunction followed by a phrase which can be one of a number of different types, as shown by (43):
    (43a) Although Head of Department, he relies on the Departmental Secretary. [noun phrase]
    (43b) Although seriously ill, he came to the meeting. [adjective phrase]
    (43c) Although on holiday, Susan responded to the request for help. [prepositional phrase]
    (43d) Although waiting in a long queue, Catriona stayed calm. [participial phrase]"
    (Jan McAllister and James E. Miller, Introductory Linguistics for Speech and Language Therapy Practice. John Wiley & Sons, 2013)

     
  • Functions of Reduced Adverb Clauses
    "Reduced adverb clauses include present or past participles with or without prepositional (or adverbial) phrases and/or adverb clause markers, external/peripheral to the independent clause structure, for example, The professor looked at me, smiling broadly, or While walking to class that night, I noticed this poster, or After releasing her first CD, she made a hit movie (NSs). With full or reduced adverb clauses, the independent clause retains its structure and meaning if the subordinate construction is completely omitted (Leech & Svartvik, 1994). In academic texts, reduced adverb clauses integrate information compactly, while retaining the meanings and functions of full adverb clauses (Biber, 1988). In general, they mark formal and written registers and are . . . seldom employed in speech.

    "In reduced adverb clauses, the subject is not present in the subordinate structure and is assumed to be the same as that in the independent clause. However, the constructions in which the subjects are not the same abound in both L1 and L2 writing and are considered to be questionable (if not outright unacceptable) (Quirk et al., 1985)."
    (Eli Hinkel, Second Language Writers' Text: Linguistic and Rhetorical Features. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002)