Writing using adverb clauses and other complex, compound and compound complex sentence structures is often taught on a single sentence level. However, when it comes to writing full paragraphs these higher level sentence structures sometimes get short shrift. This lesson focuses on helping students use complex sentences in longer written structures, rather than practicing writing individual sentences with adverb clauses.
Aim: Improving students' ability to connect complex sentences structures into larger writing structures
Activity: Writing stories using adverb clauses
Level: Upper intermediate to advanced
- Provide a creative short story, either written or spoken, that uses different types of adverb clauses strung together to relate a story. Here is an example. Feel free to use this in class.
Jake played a lot of tennis when he was in high school. Although he started playing the game at the late age of 14, he quickly became one of the best players in his state. Wherever and whenever he'd play a match, he won handily. Since he wanted to turn professional, his parents invested a lot of money in lessons, club fees, and so on. They always said, "If you want to have a champion in the family, you have to invest." It looks as though things have turned as planned. Today, Jake is a top rated professional.
- Review various types of adverb clauses by asking students to identify the clauses used in your story. Here's a key to the story:
Jake played a lot of tennis when he was in high school. - Time Clause
Although he started playing the game at the late age of 14, he quickly became one of the best players in his state. - Opposition Clause
Wherever and whenever he'd play a match, he won handily. - Place Clause
Since he wanted to turn professional, his parents invested a lot of money in lessons, club fees, and so on. - Causality Clause
They always said, "If you want to have a champion in the family, you have to invest." - Condition Clause (sentence in quotes)
It looks as though things have turned as planned. - Manner Clause
- Use the worksheet below to help students reference the various types of adverb clauses. If students are comfortable with these structures, move on to the story part of writing the lesson. If not, have students write one sentence for each type of clause using one of the subordinators listed for each type.
- Use the prompts below, and ask students to write a story using at least one of each type of adverb clauses. Refer them to the subordinator list to help keep track of the various subordinators. If students don't like the suggested scenarios, they should feel free to invent their own story.
- Students should then label each sentence in their story based on adverb clause type.
Types of Adverb Clauses
Used to express when something happens: when, as soon as, by the time, after, whenever, since, before, after, etc.
Used to express the reason something happens: because, as, since, so that
Used to express that something happens despite difficulty: though, even though, though, while, whereas
Used to state a condition: if, even if, only if, in the case that, unless
Use to state the manner in which something happens: as if, as though, as
Used to state where something happens: wherever, everywhere, anywhere
Adverb Clause Story Suggestions
Use one of the story suggestions to write a short story using each adverb clause type at least once.
- A young person learns how to do something well and proceeds to have great success at the endeavor.
- A person loves someone else, but that person loves another. Chaos and heartbreak ensue.
- A group of friends play a joke on another, but unintended consequences occur.
- Santa / the Tooth Fairy / another "present bringer" brings a gift that changes a young person's life.
- Good friends compete for the same job, one gets the position, but the other does not. How does this affect their relationship?
Once you have finished, label each sentence in your story with the correct adverb clause type.