In the workbook that I'm working with, there is a sentence which states as follow:

The animals taken to the slaughterhouse must be killed by humane methods".

According to what I have learnt in the past (see here for example), while using the passive voice (3rd form of the irregular verb) it should be with a 'coefficient' in form of "to be" auxiliary verb - as follow:

The animals that are taken to the slaughterhouse must be killed by humane methods".

Then why the book's sentence omits the auxiliary verb in this case? enter image description here

  • 1
    Have you read about participles? It's a reduced relative clause.
    – V.V.
    Nov 6, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    The example in your book is grammatically fine. "Taken to the slaughterhouse ..." is a past-participial clause modifying the noun "animals". Such clauses have similar meanings to relative clauses, cf. "The animals which were taken to the slaughterhouse ...". Past-participial modifiers are bare passives, as evident from the admissibility of a by phrase, cf: "The animals taken to the slaughterhouse by the farmers ..."
    – BillJ
    Nov 6, 2016 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is a grammatically correct sentence. The phrase "taken to the slaughterhouse" is a reduced relative clause--it describes "The animals" but doesn't use a phrase like "that are" to refer to "the animals."

It would also be correct to say "The animals that were taken to the slaughterhouse must be ..."

It would be incorrect to say "The animals that taken to the slaughterhouse..." Once the word "that" is added, a form of "to be" must be added. The addition of "were" on its own (as in your example sentence "the animals were taken to the slaughterhouse must be killed by humane methods") is incorrect without using "that." Perhaps this is what is bothering you about the sentence in the workbook.

  • Thank you, indeed, I see that it is reduced relative clause especially according to a very similar example which is presented there. I really don't understand why someone vote your answer down. I vote up for it but it made it from -1 to 0 :) Thank you for the answer. Nov 7, 2016 at 4:36
  • @Industrious If you take grammar seriously, you'll dispense with the term "reduced relative clause". Clauses like your "taken to the slaughterhouse ..." cannot be relative clauses because there is no possibility of them containing a relative phrase, a crucial feature of relative clauses. They are semantically similar, as I pointed out, but the syntax is quite different and hence are best called participial clauses.
    – BillJ
    Nov 7, 2016 at 7:24

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