captured soldiers / soldiers captured [position past participle modifier]

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baten

Banned
malay
For single-word past participle modifier, should they be placed before or after nouns:

1 "The captured soldiers were sent to a detention camp."
2 "The soldiers captured were sent to a detention camp."
3 "The detention camp processed the captured soldiers."
4 "The detention camp processed the soldiers captured."

Are sentences 2 and 4 more poetic/formal than sentences 1 and 3, respectively?
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Welcome to the forum, baten!

    Captured in sentences 1 and 3 is a participle functioning as an adjective. In general, adjectives go before nouns in English.
    So only sentences 1 and 3 are correct.
    The other sentences (where captured functions as a verb) are poor substitutes for the soldiers who/that were captured, I would not accept sentence 4 at all.
     
    Last edited:

    baten

    Banned
    malay
    Then, the following would be wrong?

    "Campuses that used to admit almost every applicant are becoming more selective, and the students admitted are more academically prepared than a decade ago."


    Link from: accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/2011/index/chapter/2
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Hm. I would be willing to accept sentence 4, but only if there was something that motivated the condensed clause. In your example about colleges, we know from the first clause that applicants are being admitted. So in the second clause we're prepared to have the shortened version of that statement, where "admitted" means "who were admitted in the particular way being discussed."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't see a problem with that sentence, baten.

    I think e2efour was specifically talking about the case in sentence 4 where the "who/that were" is omitted and the past tense verb appears as the last word in the sentence. I find that one awkward, too. It sounds like a misplaced adjective when it's the last word in the sentence.

    Ther other examples you gave represent a common construction, in my experience, in academic and journalistic writing.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I didn't like your sentence no. 2 because it had no context. I would accept The soldiers captured in the battle were sent to the detention camp.
    Likewise the students admitted is ok since it can only mean the students (who were) admitted to the university.

    However, it is sometimes difficult to know whether a participle can be used as an adjective before the verb. We can say:
    The soldiers were captured.
    The captured soliders were imprisoned.
    The soldiers were killed.
    The killed? soldiers were buried.
    [I would not use killed in this position. Dead sounds much better.]
    The territories occupied during the war were many.
    The occupied territories covered a large area.
    The students admitted in October failed their exams.
    The admitted students failed their exams.
    [?]
     
    Last edited:

    baten

    Banned
    malay
    So, single-word past participle modifier is okay of the modified noun phrase is at the beginning of a clause?
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    So, single-word past participle modifier is okay of the modified noun phrase is at the beginning of a clause?
    I would qualify this by saying that not all examples sound natural. This is similar to adjectives, some of which cannot come before the noun.

    Examples:
    1. The train that was cleaned yesterday left the station.
    2. The cleaned train left the station.
    3. The car that was bought was in a dangerous condition.
    4. The bought car skidded off the road.

    Sentences 2 and 4 might be possible, but I find them rather awkward.
    Unfortunately, I can't think of a rule for participles used as adjectives like this.
     
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