Consider this sentence:

My wife drives more carefully than I do.

I want to understand the grammatical role of the phrase,

more carefully than I do

Is it an adverb, and adverb phrase, an adverb clause, an adverb complement or something else?

2 Answers 2


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In this sentence, the phrase, 'more carefully than I do', is an adverbial phrase. It can't be considered an adverbial clause because it doesn't have its own subject and verb. It can't be considered an adverbial complement because it's not necessary for the meaning of the verb, 'to drive'.

An example of an adverbial clause would be

My wife drives when she wants our trip to be safe.

It starts with a subordinating conjunction and has a separate subject and verb.

An example of an adverbial complement where the verb is 'to drive away' would be

My wife drives away when I offer to get behind the wheel.

  • Thank you . I know that the structure of an adverb phrase is as follows: adverb / adverb + adverb. but phrase 'more carefully than I do' !!
    – justin770
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 17:59
  • Can I say that 'more carefully ' is adverb , ' than I do ' is prepositional phrase that ' I do ' is noun clause and ' I do ' complement for " more carefully.
    – justin770
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 18:22
  • It looks to me like those are accurate descriptions of those parts of the sentence by themselves. Taken together they form the adverbial phrase.
    – dwilli
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 18:33

"carefully" is an adverb modifying "drive". The surrounding words "more ... than I do" modifies "carefully". The entire phrase remains an adverbial phrase; the modification doesn't change the part of speech. You can apply it to a noun and get a noun phrase ("My wife takes more care than I do"), an adjective and get an adjectival phrase ("My wife is more careful than I am"), etc.

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