10.5 relative adverbs

From a theoretical perspective relative adverbs are complex structures. They refer to a noun, seldom to a pronoun, in the main clause and describe the circumstances the action described in the relative clause is realised. In general the translation to English is realised with preposition + which, (where and how are exceptions), or are not translated at all.

The way in which he resolved the problem fascinated everybody.
The way he resolved the problem fascinated everybody.

The way is not an adverb itself and by simply refering it, it doesn't become an adverbe. However in which is an adverbial. The way is simply the subject of the main clause. In which in the relative clause is not a direct object, nor an indirect object nor the subject of the relative clause, it is just an adverbial.

Definitions of this kind are not really correct. The difference between a relative pronoun and a relative adverb is the fact that the function of relative adverb is completely different than the function of a relative pronoun.

Onde e como são advérbios relativos já que introduzem uma oração subordinada relativa e ao mesmo tempo permitem identificar uma relação estabelecida com o nome antecedente. Where and how are relative adverbs because they introduce a relative clause and establish at the same time a relationship to a precedent noun.
Como e onde, advérbios relativos

This definition is true as well for a relative pronoun, the fundamental difference is missing. The relative adverb, together with a possible preposition is an adverbial in the relative phrase. The relative pronoun has the syntactical function of a noun. The relative adverb has the function of an adverb or adverbial.

It is true that com o qual, sob o qual, sobre o qual are adverbials, but qual or quais only refer a noun of the main clause, they are and remain pronouns. They match in gender and number with the noun they refer to. But the construction preposition + qual / quais is an adverbial. For the same reason quem and que are pronouns, although they are invariable. They can't match in gender and number with the noun of the main clause, because the are invariable, but they have the function of a noun in the relative clause.

Carrega consigo o martelo com o qual realizará tal empreitada.
Brings with himself the hammer, with which will realize such work.
The hammer he will realize the work with will be brought by himself.

To ask for the hammer we use with what: With what he did the work?
For the whole adverbial we ask with how: How he will do the job?

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