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In a complex sentence that has (1) an independent clause with a linking verb (be, become, feel etc), and (2) a dependent adverb clause, what does the adverb modify? For instance:-

(1) He is great because he had a fine education.

(2) He became CEO after he had worked in the company for 10 years.
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To me they are sentence adverbs-- they modify the main clause as a whole.
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You may be right. Emotion: big smile If so, what does that make the independent clause the equivalent of -- a verb, an adverb or an adjective (i.e., those parts of speech which an adverb modifies)?
From the dictionary, Voxxi:

Adverb:
  • (noun): the word class that qualifies verbs or clauses
  • (noun): a word that modifies something other than a noun