What are the relative adverbs in English? They are; when, where and why. We use relative adverbs as ‘’joiners’’ or ‘’connectors’’ to connect phrases together. Furthermore, every relative adverb has its own purpose or role, for example,
- When: refers to time.
- Where: refers to a place or destination.
- Why: refers to the reason as to WHY something has happened.
We use the relative adverb ‘when‘ as an adverb to reference “time”
- It wasn’t long ago when I used to go to the city centre.
- It was two minutes ago I when I had been approached by the attendant.
- I remember the time when I was younger and played football.
The relative adverb ‘where‘ is used as an adverb in reference to “place”
- I told the tourist where he needed to go to see the monument.
- The islands where we met up with our friends were beautiful.
- Jamie found a place where he could finally relax.
We use the relative adverb ‘why‘ as an adverb to reference “reason”
- We were told why they all had to leave so early last night.
- I know exactly why Oliver has been acting so strangely.
- Her constant excuses are the reason why she never managed to finish the project.
Relative adverbs with context and analysis
- Which university did you go to, Lisa?
- Well, it was a long time ago when1 I was at university.
- Come on, let’s hear it.
- OK, well, I was lucky I had the opportunity to go to an Ivy league university called Brown University2 where3 I studied mathematics.
- Mathematics? I didn’t know you studied math.
- Yes, ah, well, I don’t know exactly why4 I chose math. I guess when5 I was younger I always liked the subject, and just decided it was the sciences6 where I longed7 to go.
- Mathematics is not an easy subject, so It should have been hard to finish the degree, shouldn’t it8?
- Yes, it took me five years to complete the degree, although, if you have9 a genuine interest when you’re young it’s not hard to be good at your subject.
- Still, though, mathematics is not known to be easy.
- When: relative adverb that refers to time. In this particular case, the relative adverb, when is referring to the time when Lisa was at university.
- Brown University: Both Brown and University are capitalised because they form part of the proper noun, Brown University. When university is alone, it isn’t capitalised.
- Where: relative adverb that refers to place or destination. In this case, the place being, Brown University.
- Why: relative adverb that refers to reason (the reason as to WHY something happened). The phrase being, ‘’I don’t know exactly’’.
- When: relative adverb that refers to time. In this case the time being, ‘’when I was younger’’.
- The sciences: in general, there’s two main categories of study at university; the sciences, and the humanities.
- To long (verb): means to ‘’have a strong desire or craving for something or someone’’.
- It should – shouldn’t it?: example of a question tag. Remember, positive to negative and vice versa.
- Have a genuine interest: remember, the auxiliary verb to have is used to show possession. In this case, an interest is what is being possessed.
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling