EVERYTHING (ALMOST) YOU WANTED TO KNOW (WHO WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF?), BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK. I am totally html inept, but will do my best to keep this blog supplied with plenty of syntax junk. The main aim here is to help my students (my future colleagues, in fact) come to grips with the syntax of English, even if they can't stand it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

ADVERBIAL CLAUSES - Finite & Non-finite

Adverbial clauses are a group of words with a verb that remit adverbial ideas (time, place, contrast, condition, manner, comparison, reason or cause, purpose, result or circumstance). Finite adverbial clauses usually contain a SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION (see entry on SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION), which makes it easier to identify. Non-finite adverbial clauses, however, hardly ever (almost never, almost) have a subordinating conjunction, making them more difficult to identify and more open to interpretation.

FINITE ADVERBIAL CLAUSES

Most finite adverbial clauses have a SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION, which will aid in determining the adverbial idea.

e.g. DESPITE THE FACT (THAT) SHE SMELLS LIKE ROTTEN FISH, I LIKE HER.
- “Despite the fact (that)” is a subordinating conjunction used to show CONTRAST
- “Despite the fact (that) she smells like rotten fish” is a finite adverbial clause of contrast.
- “I like her” is the main clause.

NON-FINITE ADVERBIAL CLAUSES

Reducing adverbial clauses is common, but confusing. They can be reduced in three ways: GERUND, PAST PARTICIPLE, and INFINITIVE. When this occurs, quite often the SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION is removed, thus leaving the sentence open to interpretation.

e.g. SORTING THROUGH ALL HER BELONGINGS, SHE FOUND THE OLD PHOTO OF HER FIRST BEAU.
- “Sorting through all her belongings” is a dependent clause that can be interpreted THREE ways:
1) “By sorting through all her belongings” (referring to the MANNER in which she found the photo) – non-finite adverbial clause of manner reduced by gerund; or
2) “Because she sorted through all her belongings” (referring to what CAUSED her to find the photo) – non-finite adverbial clause of cause (reason) reduced by gerund.
3) "As she sorted through all her belongings" (referring to the time she found the photo) - non-finite adverbial clause of time reduced by gerund.

e.g. HE TOOK UP ANTHROPOLOGY, STIMULATED BY OUR ENTHUSIASM.
- “stimulated by our enthusiasm” can be interpreted as “because he was stimulated by our enthusiasm” – non-finite adverbial clause of cause reduced by the past participle.

e.g. HE OPENED THE CRATE TO LOOK FOR THE DEED.
- “to look for the deed” can be interpreted as “so that he could look for the deed” – non-finite adverbial clause of purpose reduced by the infinitive.

9 Comments:

Blogger Hazel said...

Thanks for your information. Please tell me if the sentence
"Home is where the heart is"
is an adverbial clause of place.
Is it finite or non-finite?
Or is it an adjective clause? Noun?
WHAT IS IT FOR GOD'S SAKE?
Sorry... thanks in advance for not letting me go insane with the English grammar.

7:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Home IS [where the heart IS]

both clauses are finite (they have tensed verbs)

the subordinate clause {where...] is nominal: it serves as a noun [home is this place].

9:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

u can't imagine how helpfull this info is for me!

thx!

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It agree, rather useful idea

7:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have passed something?

6:28 PM

 
Blogger Chris said...

I will have a text about adverbial clauses and one of the exercises is to transform a non finite clause into a finite my doubt is when I change it how can I know what is the correct tense?

7:47 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your way of describing the whole thing in this piece of writing is truly nice, every one
be able to simply understand it, Thanks a lot.

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11:34 PM

 
Blogger Syntax Lunacy said...

Home = subject
is = linking verb
where the heart is = subject complement

where the heart is = finite noun clause working as a subject complement (This is not an adverbial clause, but a noun clause)

2:50 PM

 
Blogger shishir said...

What is the difference between I want book to read and I want to read a book .what is the function of to infiniftive in both sentence. Tell me plz

10:44 AM

 

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