Monday, May 9, 2016

Reduction of adverb clauses to modifying phrases

Even the title of this post looks scary to most people. Reduction of adverb clauses is a difficult concept for most learners of English. Until they internalize the concept, they look for a source to turn to whenever they feel perplexed. And who can blame them? Some of you might argue that they do not even need to learn these, but in most schools like ours, where learners are tested on every single grammar point there is in the English language, whether it be as simple as the verb "to be" or as complex as this one, they need to be able to at least recognize these structures.

If you're looking at this post blankly trying to understand what I'm talking about, here's an example of how the conjunction "after" can be reduced:

Active: After I read the article, I started to write my essay.

1. (After) reading the article, I started to write my essay.

2. I started to write my essay after reading the article. (After cannot be omitted.)

Passive: After he was called to the principal’s office, he was suspended from school.

1. (After) being called to the principal’s office, he was suspended from school.

2. He was suspended from school after being called to the principal’s office. (After cannot be omitted.)

Perfect: After I had read the article, I started to write my essay.

1. Having read the article, I started to write my essay. (active)

2. Having been called to the principal’s office, he was suspended from school. (passive)

3. Called to the principal’s office, he was suspended from school. (passive)

For the rest of the rules and examples, download this file.