about the verb in a complex sentence

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"Researchers increasingly think that the most important cargo on these early transoceanic voyages was not silk and silver but an unruly menagerie of plants and animals, many of them accidental stowaways." I wonder why in the end of this sentence "many of them accidental stowaways" there are not a verb? like "many of them were accidental stowaways". why?
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hello, tristan229. The writer chose to use a phrase, "many of them accidental stowaways", rather than a subordinate clause "many of which were accidental stowaways". Using phrases like this is one way to introduce some variety into a long sentence. The clause would have worked, but the phrase told us just as much with fewer words.

    When writers use phrases that omit verbs, they often replace a clause that uses the boring verb "be" with some phrase that omits it. This type of phrase is easy to understand. Trying to replace a clause that contained some other verb would be harder to do.

    Welcome to the forum. :)
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