reduced relative clause

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yakor

Senior Member
Russian
Hello, I have a doubt that a reduced relative clause can't modify an object of a sentence. For example,
-I gave a book which was written by Hemingway to Mary last week. can't be reduced up to
-I gave a book written by Hemingway to Mary last week.
What do you think about it?
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Last week I gave Mary a book written by Hemingway. - I can't see anything wrong with that. You just have to avoid the ambiguous "written by Hemingway to Mary".
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with Velisarius; the new version is an improvement. There's possible ambiguity for someone who doesn't know the name Hemingway.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes, I understood the second sentence. It is linguistically correct.
    I just wanted to know the common opinion of native speakers about it, because Kenneth Beare states on this site http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/Reduced-Relative-Clauses.htm that "sentence can not be reduced because the relative clause which was written by Hemingway modifies an object of the verb 'give' "



    Your doubts are groundless. There is no possible ambiguity in the sentence since gave must be followed by to.
    You mean that the direct object of "gave" must be followed by "to"?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    What a strange claim for him to make. It's quite untrue, and he gives no other examples or any reasons or evidence for it. The ability to be modified has nothing to do with whether the noun phrase is an object, or what it's object of.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Also, because I can't trust this linguist after his statement, I would like to know if it is correct to call every participle phrase describing the subject or object the reduced relative clause? For example.
    It was the girl that lives in the next house.
    It was the girl living in the next house.
    Is "living in the next house" a reduced clause of "that lives in the next house"?
    Also, it is not clear what he meant under "present participle 2" :(
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Strictly speaking, if you have a reduced relative clause, the original should be a relative clause.
    So Anyone who is scared of heights should not go mountaineering reduces to Anyone scared of heights ...

    You can turn reduced clauses containing a present or past participle into a relative clause: The girl killed by the train => The girl who was killed by the train.
    You cannot normally omit the relative in such clauses if it is the subject of the clause unless it contains a passive participle (as in The book that was written by Hemingway).

    Re your question about what was written in the link you gave in #6:
    "Reduce to a present participle 2" was written because the previous paragraph had the heading "Reduced to a present participle 1".

    Notice also that the previous but one paragraph read "Reduce to an Past Participle Phrase", which contains a howler!
     
    Last edited:
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