Reduced Adjective/Relative Clauses
1. A relative clause is an adjective clause.
2. A reduced clause is a phrase.
3. When you are not sure if you can reduce the clause or not, then don’t.
4. Usually only one-word participles can be put in front of the noun:
a. The wolves howling tonight must be hungry… The howling wolves tonight must be hungry.
Look at these examples of relative (adjective) clauses:
1a. People who buy lottery tickets are often found at bingo.
1b. People buying lottery tickets are often found at bingo.
2a. The students who were waiting for their funding from the government were disappointed.
2b. The students waiting for their funding from the government were disappointed.
3a. Those students who want to go to Big White for snowboarding need to pay soon.
3b. Those students wanting to go to Big White for snowboarding need to pay soon.
In the sentences above, the relative pronoun (who, which, that) can be omitted along with the verb to be and replaced by the present participle (-ing). Notice that the simple present verb tense changes to the present participle.
In 1b, the verb in the clause expresses a habitual or continuous action, something that happens on a regular basis. Other examples:
a. Kids playing in the streets may get run over. = Kids who play…
b. ESL students attending summer session must register by Friday. = students who will attend…
However, hobbies and repeated actions cannot take this construction:
c. People who play golf are always prepared for inclement weather.
(compare: The people playing golf today are getting wet from all the rain.)
d. Students who don’t practice their English don’t improve very quickly.
(compare: Students not practicing their English during class time today will be punished.)
e. The bus which leaves at 6:03 was late today, so I caught the 6:08 one for downtown.
(compare: *The bus leaving at 6:03 was late today.)
In 2b, the verb is in the continuous or progressive tense and can be replaced by the present participle:
f. I am waiting for the student who is writing his final exam early. = …for the student writing…
g. Give high marks to the students who are speaking English in class today. = …the students speaking…
In 3b, verbs like wish, desire, want, and hope (not like) can be used in this way.
h. Those students desiring a second grammar course please sign up at my office.
i. All the students wishing for a better grade are here studying hard.
Helpful hint: When you are not sure, put in the who, which, or that.
Note: These examples are used for defining or definite relative clauses.
Reduced Relative Clauses
You may delete the relative pronoun and the be verb when:
1. they are followed by a prepositional phrase.
A. The man who is in the house is my father.
The man in the house is my father.
B. The books that are on the desk are mine
The books on the desk are mine.
2. the main verb in the relative clause is progressive.
A. The man who is swimming in the lake is my father.
The man swimming in the lake is my father.
B. The books that are lying on the floor are mine.
The books lying on the floor are mine.
You may NOT delete the relative pronoun and the be verb when :
1. they are followed by an adjective:
The man who is angry is my father
X The man angry is my father
(However, you may switch the positions of the adjective and noun.)
The angry man is my father. (okay)
2. they are followed by a noun:
The man who is a doctor is my father.
X The man a doctor is my father.
The relative pronoun can be deleted if there is a new subject and verb following it:
A. This is the house that Jack built.
B. This is the house Jack built.
A. The person whom you see is my father.
B. The person you see is my father.
A. This is the place where I live.
B. This is the place I live.
A. I don’t know the reason why she is late.
B. I don’t know the reason she is late
(Also : I don’t know why she is late. )
A. The woman whom he likes is married.
B. The woman he likes is married.
Do not delete a relative pronoun that is followed by a verb other than be:
The man who likes lasagna is my father.
X The man likes lasagna is my father.
Never delete the relative pronoun whose:
The man whose car broke down went to the station.
X The man car broke down went to the station.