The main purpose of a language is to help people communicate and share ideas. In order to express ourselves in a clear way, we need to give additional pieces of information and more details about the idea or message we are talking about. Therefore, English language has different types of clauses, and one of them are adverbial clauses. An adverbial clause, like other clauses, has a subject and a verb, and plays the role of an adverb in a sentence. There are different types of adverbial clauses in English language, and we categorize them according to their semantic role. Adverbial clauses can be clauses of time, place, condition, concession, contrast, exception, reason, purpose, result, similarity and comparison, proportion, preference and comment clauses. In the following paragraphs we will deal with adverbial clauses of reason.

An adverbial clause of reason is directly connected to the main clause of the sentence. It explains and gives reason for the main idea. We use adverbial clauses of reason to explain why someone does something or why something happens. The situation in the adverbial clause proceeds in time that of the main clause. An adverbial clause of reason usually starts with the following subordinators: because, since, as, in case, for, seeing (that), as long as, with, what with, in that and while.


‘I lent him the book because he needed it.’

Syntactic analysis of the sentence would be: Subject (I) Predicator (lent) Indirect object (him) Direct object (the book) Adverbial clause of reason (because he needed it)


‘As John was the youngest, I looked after him.’


‘Since we live near the sea, we often go swimming.’


‘Seeing that seems as if it will rain, we had better leave now.’


‘As long as you are here, we can study together for the exam.’


‘With the final exams coming next week, I have no time for my family.’


What with refers to one or more given circumstances of an unspecified set, whereas with implies only one:

‘What with the prices (being) so high, (and with my wife being out of work), I can’t afford a new car.’


‘The evidence is invalid in that it was obtained through illegal means.’


‘While you are in France, you can bring me some cheese.’

Adverbial clauses can also be used without a subordinator

‘Knowing their tastes, she was able to bring a gift they would like.’

There are two types of relationships between the adverbial clause of reason and the main clause.



1.      Cause and effect

e.g. The roses are growing so well because I watered them.

We can paraphrase this sentence by inserting the cause for/the reason that,

The cause for the roses growing so well/the reason that the roses are growing so well is that I watered them.

2.      Reason and consequence

e.g. I watered the roses because they were dry.

3.      Motivation and result

e.g. I watered the roses because my mum told me so.

4.      Circumstance and consequence

e.g. Since the weather has improved, the game will be held as planned.



e.g. Mary is your favourite cousin, because your parents told me so.

We can paraphrase this sentence by inserting since in the place of because,

Since your parents told me so, I can say that Mary is your favourite cousin.

Adverbial clauses of reason can be used in everyday speech, when writing formal and informal texts or when we just want to express the reason why we did or said something, or why something happened. It can be a very good way to give supporting arguments and to sound more fluent.


Some examples used from :

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik (1985). A Compre- hensive Grammar of the English Language. London and New York: Longman.


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