relative adverb quando / when

A relative adverb refers to or stands for an adverbial and something that stands for an adverbial is an adverbial itself. That is always like that. A pronoun for instance, stands for a noun and is therefore a noun as well. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between the relative adverb quando / when and the temporal conjunction quando / when. In the following sentence for instance quando / when is a temporal conjunction. Quando / when doesn't refer to adverbial of time, because there is none.

Eu não sei quando vem.
I don't know when he comes.

The easiest way to distinguish between a temporal clause and a relative clause is to delete the relative clause. If the result is a grammatically correct sentence, it is a relative clause, although the meaning may be altered completely. In a sentence like "All times once passed are good" we can leave out, see the following table, "once passed". The remaining sentence "All times are good" is grammatically correct and nobody has the impression that something is missing. If we leave out the temporal clause in "I don't know when he comes" we get "I don't know" and this sentence is incomplete, because it is unclear what he doesn't now.

Todos os tempos, quando passados, são bons.
All the times once passed are good.
All times once passed are good.
Todas as semanas, quando sua saúde permite, ele nos acompanha.
All the weeks when his health allows he us accompanies.
The weeks his health allows it, he accompanies us.
durante o dia, quando o corpo gasta mais energia, é importante que as refeições sejam compatíveis com este gasto.
Already during the day when the body consumes more energy is important that the meals are compatible with this consumption.
Already during the day when the body consumes more energy it is important that the meals complies the consumption.
Um dia, quando olhares* para trás, verás que os dias mais belos foram aqueles em que lutaste.
On day when you look back you will see that the best days were the days you stand up for something.

* This a conjuntivo do futuro, a tense we didn't have seen until know. We will discuss this tense later in the chapter 12.2.5 futuro do conjuntivo und presente do conjuntivo.

Durante o dia, quando está claro, a secreção de melatonina reduz-se.
During the day, when the sun shines, the secretion of melatonin is reduced.
14 pessoas foram mortas este domingo quando um carro carregado de explosivos explodiu num cruzamento.
14 persons died this sunday when loaded with explosives exploded on a crossroad.

The relative adverb should not be confused with the temporal conjunction. (Actually from a practical point of view it is completely irrelevant to see the difference, although perhaps in some circumstances it can be useful to be able to distinguish between the relative adverb and the conjunction.)

Quando can mean as well while.

Perco a noção do tempo quando estou escrevendo.
I lose any sense of time while / when I am writing.

The adverb quando can introduce a restrictive relative clause, a nonrestrictive relative clause.

non restrictive relative clause
Sábado, quando fomos ao litoral, fez sol.
Saturday, when were at cost made sun.
Saturday, when we made a trip to the coast, the sun was shining.
restrictive relative clause
Hoje foi o dia em que o Reino Unido decidiu divorciar-se do projeto europeu.
Today was the day in which the United Kingdom decided to divorce of project European.
Today was the day the United Kingdom decided to dissociate itself from the European project.
Tudo aqui lembra o tempo quando eu vivia no interior.
Everything here remembers the time when I lived in the interior
Everything here recalls to my mind the days when I lived inside the country.
O dia quando a Suécia mudou a mão de todas as suas ruas.
The day when the Sweden changed the direction of travel of all the its streets.
The day Sweden changed the direction of travel of all its streets.

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