Remind the students that a clause must have a subject and a verb. There are 5 types of adverbs: time, place, manner or condition, frequency and degree.  An adverb clause shows how, when or where something happens. Time adverbs may include before, after, as, when, while, until, as soon as, since, no sooner than, as long as etc. This lesson uses the adverbial clause of time.

Adverbial clauses of time
(When dad came home)
Slash lv. 6
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Teacher actions are highlighted.

  • Students should be familiar with 'wh question' forms that require one word or short phrase answers. For example:

    • Q. When will we have our spelling test? A. Tomorrow

    • Q. When do you eat breakfast? A. In the morning

  • Write a sentence containing the new structure on the board, for example:

    • When it is time for lunch, you will walk to the cafeteria.

    • Ask: How many clauses does this sentence have? Which clause tells when?

    • Underline and read the clause. Compare the clause to the single word and short phrase answers for a review of the 'when question' form.

    • Recall that the 'when clause' has a subject ‘it’ and verb ‘is’.

      • The one -word response and the phrase do not have a subject and verb.

    • Show the subject 'you' and verb 'will walk' of the main clause or independent clause.

      • Explain that this is the main part of the sentence.

  • Show the students two more sentences containing a 'when clause', for example:

    • When you finish eating, you will play outside.

    • When you return to class, we will have a surprise.

  • Students read the sentences and discuss the meaning.

    • Tell students the first clause tells 'when'.

    • Ask: What clue helps to identify the 'when clause' (the clause starts with 'when').

    • Underline the clause and have the students identify the subject and verb of the 'when clause' ('you' and 'finish') and of the main clause ('you' and 'will play outside').

    • Students identify the 'when clause' in the second sentence; underline the clause and identify the subject and verb of the 'when clause' ('you' and 'return') and of the main clause ('we' and 'will have').

  • Refer to the first sentence again.

  • Ask: When will you walk to the cafeteria? Explain that to answer this question, they would respond with the entire clause: When it is time for lunch.

  • Ask questions about the second and third sentences. Encourage the students to respond with the 'when clauses.'

Advancing the Strategy
  • Write sentences in which the 'when clauses' comes first.

    • Example: When you finish your math paper, you may go to the reading circle.

    • Ask what part of this sentence tells 'when'? Underline the 'when clause' and have the students identify the subject and verb of both clauses.

    • Discuss the meaning of the sentence and the English format.

  • Show 2 more sentences with when clauses.

  • Ask: What part of these sentences tells 'when'?

  • Give each student 3 sentences, each containing an adverbial clause beginning with 'when'.

    • Student underlines the correct clause, circles the subjects of each clause, and draws a box around each verb. Discuss responses and meaning of  sentences.