leads to send back <that are> asking for [Subject-Verb omission]

Normandete

Senior Member
The folowing sentence are equivalent in meaning:

"In all advertising, there are leads to send back that are asking for more information".

"In all advertising, there are leads to send back,asking for more information".


In order to study all the types and possibilities of subject-verb omission, could anyone tell me the name of the grammatical construction which allows the words "that are" to be omitted.

Thanks
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's sometimes called a "reduced relative clause", Normandete.

    (You may find this site helpful:).)
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I find this question problematical, for two reasons.
    (1) It is not in my view a case of omission. I have seen such situations described as omission or ellipsis, but that description cannot cover all cases of this type.
    (2) The example chosen does not seem the best, as it involves other issues as well.

    We could take, as a simpler example of the main point, the following:
    (a) This is a house needing renovation.

    That sentence is equivalent to each of the following:

    (b) This is a house which needs renovation.
    (c) This is a house which is needing renovation.

    In (b) and (c), 'that' could equally well be substituted for 'which'.

    The change involved here is the replacement of a participial phrase ('needing renovation') by a clause ('which needs renovation', 'which is needing renovation'.

    The fact that the clause 'which needs renovation' is a valid replacement (as well as the clause 'which is needing renovation') shows that this change cannot properly be seen as one of omission, ellipsis or reduction.

    The participial phrase ('needing renovation') is not a clause, because it does not contain a finite verb, but only a participle ('needing').
    When we convert this to a clause, we do so by adding a conjunction (in this case, the relative pronoun 'which' or 'that') and by changing the participle ('needing') into a finite verb ('needs' or 'is needing').

    The fundamental principle is that a participle combines the force of a verb with that of an adjective and is able to perform some of the functions of a finite verb, including that of subordinating one verbal idea to another.

    In other words, in general, you can replace any participial phrase with a clause, using a conjunction and a finite verb.
    This applies not only to relative clauses, such as we have here, but also to adverbial clauses and indeed to co-ordinate clauses which employ a second main verb.
     
    Last edited:

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I agree with wandle. You can make almost any modifier into a relative clause, but that doesn't mean that it's a reduced relative clause. That would mean that it was originally a relative clause and then reduced for some accidental reason. Instead I would just think about it as modification, pure and simple.

    The adherents of "reduced relative clauses" claim that something like "The red shoes are expensive" contains a reduced relative clause, because the sentence could be written "The shoes that are red are expensive." But no speaker would ever think of that expanded sentence as the "original" form of the sentence - because nobody would ever say it. The same goes for "That man over there keeps staring at me" ("That man who is over there keeps staring at me") and "The athlete swimming in lane 7 is from Australia" ("The athlete who is swimming in lane 7 is from Australia").

    To me, an explanation like "in English you can stack modifiers with nouns in many various ways, not all of which require subordinate clauses" is more clear and simple than this "reduced relative clause" stuff.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    OK, chaps - I did say that it's sometimes called a 'reduced relative clause':p.

    Can you think of another term that would help Normandete look for explanations?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, that works for me:):thumbsup:.

    On the other hand, googling "participial phrase" doesn't seem to throw up that many useful sites. (At least I haven't found one yet....:()
     

    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    Why not just call it a "participial phrase"?
    :thumbsup::thumbsup: bravo lucas-sp. That's exactly what I was going to say. The English language has all these useful and efficient phrases: participial, infinitive, gerund, that work the same way as dependent clauses in some other languages and it seems to cause a lot of trouble for us, non-native speakers, when we are trying to translate from our mother tongue. M&L
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Aw, thanks Mike.

    However, if there happens to be more (and more helpful) information about "reduced relative clauses" than there is about "participial phrases"... well, I would follow Loob's advice and Google "reduced relative clauses." In that pedagogical context, maybe it's better to just grin and bear it with that awful, awful formula.
     

    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    I'm just afraid it's a matter of semantics here, so we shouldn't be that worried about the exact words. It's the real meaning that matters and then there are different textbooks and authorities and they have their own terminology, labels and stuff and, sometimes, they all mean the same thing. I believe it is a lot more useful to understand the concept than to learn the "correct" term :) M&L
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sure!:)

    But Normandete's question was:
    In order to study all the types and possibilities of subject-verb omission, could anyone tell me the name of the grammatical construction which allows the words "that are" to be omitted.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I think the technical question is basically as follows: when you move from sentence 1 to sentence 2, are you "reducing a relative clause" or rephrasing the sentence so that a participial phrase takes the place of a relative clause?

    I don't think it particularly matters in the abstract, but if there are better reference materials on "reduced relative clauses" that might be more helpful for normandete. As always, context helps clarify matters.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    But Normandete's question was:
    In order to study all the types and possibilities of subject-verb omission, could anyone tell me the name of the grammatical construction which allows the words "that are" to be omitted.
    The problem is (as mentioned above) that omission or reduction is a mistaken analysis, because it fails to cover all cases where the participial phrase is replaced by a clause. The expression 'reduced relative clause' is thus a false concept. The proper analysis, I submit, (if I may quote myself) is as given earlier:
    When we convert [a participial phrase] to a clause, we do so by adding a conjunction (in this case, the relative pronoun 'which' or 'that') and by changing the participle ('needing') into a finite verb ('needs' or 'is needing').
    In other words, in general, you can replace any participial phrase with a clause, using a conjunction and a finite verb.
    This applies not only to relative clauses, such as we have here, but also to adverbial clauses and indeed to co-ordinate clauses which employ a second main verb.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top