Reduction of Adverb Clauses

Understanding reduction of adverb clauses will help you learn an important part of complex grammar. In addition, being able to reduce adverb clauses will help you make your speaking and writing responses more concise so you are not using unnecessary words. In other words, improving your English grammar in this important area will help you to improve your language use during the TOEFL independent and integrated speaking and writing tasks.

Reduction of Adverb Clauses

What is an adverb clause?

Adverb clauses are dependent clauses which attach to independent clauses. In this regard, adverb clauses show time, cause-effect, contrast, and condition relationships to the main parts of sentences.

  • Time: After the student finished his TOEFL exam, he went out to lunch with some friends.
  • Cause-effect: Now that it is cooler, we can go running along the beach.
  • Contrast: Even though my friend is fat, he is very handsome.
  • Condition: If it rains, Duaa will not attend the soccer game.

Why should I use reduction of adverb clauses during the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL exam?

(The fact ) that you use adverb clauses indicates your ability to use complex sentences in both writing and speaking. In addition, being able to use reduction of adverb clauses shows further advanced knowledge of English grammar.  Therefore, according to the TOEFL speaking and writing rubrics, you will be using advanced grammar structures if you reduce adverb clauses. Finally, using advanced grammar structures will help you to score higher on the TOEFL speaking and writing tasks.

When can I reduce adverb clauses?

 

Adverb clauses can be reduced to adverbial phrases when the subject in the adverb clause is the same as the subject in the independent clause.

Reduction possible: While I was working on my research paper, I phoned my friend to see if he could help me find some scholarly articles. While working on my research paper, I phoned my friend to see if he could help me find some scholarly articles.
No reduction possible: While working on my research paper, the phone rang. **While working on my research paper, the phone rang.**

This sentence is incorrectly written because the adverbial phrase “While working on my research paper” cannot modify the subject “the phone.”

How do I reduce adverb clauses?

Reducing adverb clauses involves changing the verb to a present participle. In addition, sometimes the adverb clause connector can be omitted

Reducing “Time” clauses: “Since” and “After”

  • A) Clause: Since Marie passed the TOEFL exam, she has been interviewing for a job as a pharmacist.
  • B) Phrase: Since passing the TOEFL exam, Marie has been interviewing for a job as a pharmacist.
  • C) After he finished this TOEFL exam, Lance went back to his pharmacy clinic.
  • D) After finishing this TOEFL exam, Lance went back to his pharmacy clinic.
  • E) After having finished this TOEFL exam, Lance went back to his pharmacy clinic.
Adverb clauses  with “after,” “before,” and “while” can be reduced to modifying adverbial phrases.

 

 

 

“D” and “E” sentences have the same meaning.

 

Reducing “During the Same Time” clauses

  • A) While John was completing his homework assignment, he felt a large earthquake rattle the building.
  • B) While completing his homework assignment, he felt a large earthquake rattle the building.
  • C) Completing his homework assignment, he felt a large earthquake rattle the building.
Sentences “A,” “B,” and “C” express “during the same time.”

Reducing “Cause and Effect” Clauses

  • A) Because he wanted to spend time at his parents’, John decided to skip class on Friday.
  • B) Wanting to spend time at his parents’, John decided to skip class on Friday.
  • C) Because she lacked money, Susan did not travel to Los Angeles.
  • D) Lacking money, Susan did not travel to Los Angeles.
An -ing phrase at the beginning of sentences A-D expresses the meaning of “because.”
  • E) Because I had visited the Grand Canyon before, I knew which trails would be the most adventurous.
  • F) Having visited the Grand Canyon before, I knew which trails would be the most adventurous.
Using having + past participle expresses the meaning of “because.”
  • G) Because she was unable to complete her research paper, Sarah made an appointment with the writing center.
  • H) Being unable to complete her research paper, Sarah made an appointment with the writing center.
  • I) Unable to complete her research paper, Sarah made an appointment with the writing center.
Reducing the adverb clause to a form of “be” expresses a cause-effect relationship.

Reducing “Time” clauses using “When”

A) When I reached the trailhead, I started my stop watch.

B) Upon reaching the trailhead, I started my stop watch.

 

Using adverbial phrases such as upon + -ing typically has the same meaning as “when.”
C) On reaching the trailhead, I started my stop watch. “Upon” can be shortened to “on.”  Sentences A-C have the same meaning as “when.”

Reduction of Adverb Clauses Quiz 1

Each of the sentences uses an adverb clause. Reduce the adverb clause into a modifying phrase. Then click on “Answer.” Please note that some of the adverb clauses cannot be reduced.

1. After my friend went shopping at Victoria Gardens Mall in Fontana, she went to my house for dinner.

 

2.  When the movie started, most spectators turned their cell phones off.

 

3. Because the students were unprepared for their exam, they asked their professor for a delay.

 

4. Before I left on my vacation, I took my pets to my neighbor who will look after them.

 

5. While we were camping in Big Bear City, my other friends spent the night in Las Vegas.

 

6. Since he left his house, Tom has not talked to his parents for more than 6 months.

 

7. After the newscaster finished his show, hundreds of people called to complain.

 

8. While the massive fire approached the Oak Glen community, fire fighters used fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to drop water and flame retardant on the hot spots.

 

9. When I walked to the cage, I slowly extended my hand outward.

 

10. Since he left work, Mohammed has been playing video games at home.

 

11. Before Hank was able to play a game of basketball, he went through a series of stretches to warm up his muscles.

 

12. While the teacher was lecturing her class, the students were jotting down the most important points.

 

13. Because the student had been close to someone who had the deadly Coronavirus, she was quarantined for two weeks.

 

14. Since the lockdown started in March 2020, the number of Coronavirus cases in California has ballooned to 545,000.

 

15.  After Naif completed his research project, he presented  his findings to the Education Graduate Committee.

 

16. Because she had finished her undergraduate studies, Maria decided to interview for a job as an intern for a politician in Washington D.C.

 

17. When Tom visited his friend, he realized that his friend had same-sex attractions.

 

18. Since Earth is approaching a population of 10 billion people, people must learn to recycle and to grow their own crops.

 

19. Before she turned in her essay exam, Jane spent five minutes editing for grammar, sentence style, and word choice.

 

20. When I opened the garage, I saw a large diamondback rattlesnake.

 

Reduction of Adverb Clauses Quiz 2

In each sentence, the adverb clause/reduced adverb clause needs to be rewritten in order for the sentence to be correct.  On a sheet of paper, rewrite the sentence, making the necessary corrections. Then click on “Answer” to see if you corrected the sentence correctly. Please keep in mind I am giving you a possible answer on how you can correct the sentence.

1. Since the workers finishing the shift, they have been getting drunk at the local bar.

 

2. After taking the 150 question multiple-choice exam, the professor let the student leave the class early.

 

3. Before they starting the game, the players listened to the national anthem and saluted the flag.

 

4. While everyone was watched the television, I was grilling the steaks.

 

5. Having used group chat to share answers during the test, the professor decided to cancel the test scores.

 

6. When backed into the driveway, I saw a large brown bear by my front door.

 

7. After I putting up the Halloween decorations, I decided to go to Walmart to pick up some groceries.

 

8. Before moved on the chapter on cell division, the professor decided to conduct a thorough review of photosynthesis.

 

9. While ironing my shirt, my friend called me.

 

10. Because had already completed my household chores, I went to the movies with my friend.

 

11. Since completed her undergraduate studies, she now wants to be cast in a new movie.

 

12. After my father visiting me, he went on a trip to Europe for two months.

 

13. Before I went swim, I laid out in the sun.

 

14. While running down the field (the soccer player), the spectators cheered her on.

 

15. Had already phoned her friend, Lisa started conducting research for her final writing project.

 

16.  Since unable to go on the trip, he spent the day watching NetFlix movies.

 

17. After the explosion occurring in downtown Beirut, a large, circular pressure wave moved outward from the epicenter of the blast.

 

18. While I was watch a TV program, I wrote a post for my TOEFL web site.

 

19. When going to the park, the hiker noticed a mountain lion trying to hide in the bushes.

 

20. After conducting his lecture on microeconomics (the professor), the students left the classroom 10 minutes early.

 

Do you need more help to improve your grammar?

Now that you have had some practice with reduction of adverb clauses, you should consider some of the below services.  When you are completing your speaking and writing practice tests, you could be having some of the following grammatical problems:

  • Overreliance on basic grammar structures
  • Inappropriate word choice
  • Unnatural type grammar or vocabulary
  • Sentence formation issues
  • Lack of syntactic variety
  • Verb tense, point of view, and sentence style shifts
  • Translation problems
  • Other types of errors which obscure meaning

Most TOEFLers are not able to diagnose their reduction of adverb clause and other specific grammar problems that are manifested in their speaking and writing tasks.  Using my 35 years of teaching experience, I can quickly find your grammar errors. Then I can recommend specific lessons in my online TOEFL course to help you improve.  Finally, I will guide you during your speaking and writing practice so that you will minimize making these errors during the TOEFL exam. Click on the links below to find out more about my effective TOEFL services to help you finish the TOEFL so that you can move in with your life.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff
Michael Buckhoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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