General Writing and Grammar Help/adverb vs adjective


Dear Roy Johnson,
My question is in regards to the following sentence:
The Lakota Sioux did not use horses to the extent that other tribes did.
Is the clause 'that other tribes did' functioning as an adjective or an adverb? If it modifies the noun 'extent', wouldn't it be an adjectival clause? Or is it modifying the verb 'use'? That would make it an adverbial clause.
Thank you for your assistance.
Sally Chambers.

If anything it's modifying the verb 'USE' so it's adverbial

If you supplement 'as' for 'to the extent that' it's easier to see the function of the clause 'other tribes did'. That is: The Lakota Sioux did not use horses (as) other tribes did. Here you can see that the final 'did' is parallel with 'did not use'. This shows more clearly that it modifies 'use'.

I hope that helps

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Roy Johnson


I can answer questions on English language, grammar, writing skills, and study skills. I am particularly experienced in the writing skills required for academic essays, term papers, reports, dissertations, and post-graduate theses.


I have forty years experience as a tutor and as the author of books on writing and study skills. For thirty years I was a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association, which specialises in courses for adult students and preparing mature students for university. I was also a tutor for the Open University between 1975 and 2010. During that time I have also written a number of books on writing and study skills. In the last ten years or more I have specialised in creating computer-aided learning materials and online learning courses.

"Making the Grade" (Manchester University Press) 1990 "Studying Fiction" (Manchester University Press) 1991 "Marking Essays" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Revision and Examinations" (Clifton Press) 1993 "Writing Essays" (Clifton Ress) 1996 "Study Skills" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Electronic Writing" (Clifton Press) 1996 "Improve your Writing Skills" (Clifton Press) 2010 "Writing Essays 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "English Language 3.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program] "Study Skills 2.0" (Clifton Press) 2008 [computer program]

My first degree was in mechanical engineering (HNC). I then switched to literary studies and philosophy. My second degree was a BA in English and American Literature (from Manchester University - UK). I also have an MA in Comparative Literary Studies, and my doctoral thesis (PhD) was in the relationship between literature and politics.

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