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  1. a. Trees which fell in the storm have resulted in several accidents.
    b. Trees falling in the storm have resulted in several accidents.

  2. a. Teams which have completed the first round go into the quarter-finals.
    b. Teams completing the first round go into the quarter-finals.

Why is a reduced relative clause used in examples 1a and 2b?

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  • The subordinate clauses in 1b and 2b fulfil a similar function (they both modify nouns) and have similar meanings to 'normal' relative clauses, but they are simpler, and often preferred for that reason. But 'reduced relative clause' is a misnomer. Your examples 1a and 1b are semantically similar, as are 2a and 2b, but the syntax is quite different. In the so-called reduced relative, the relative word is omitted and the verb phrase switches from finite to non-finite, either a gerund-participle or a past participle form. So you end up with non-finite clauses instead of finite ones. – BillJ Dec 31 '16 at 17:58
  • They may, remotely, in some theories, be "reduced relative clauses". But only remotely, because the present participle suffix is not part of reducing relative clauses and had to be added specifically. Normally only Whiz-deletion is required to reduce a relative clause. – John Lawler Dec 31 '16 at 20:24
  • Can you provide some context? Why do you think 1a and 2b would not be used? Where are these sentences from? Just looking at your post as-is, I don't see an answer beyond, "Because it is." – urnonav Jul 23 '18 at 20:00
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I think the reason is it makes the sentence easier to read. It shortens the length of the clause of the less-important information, which gives more emphasis to the important information whilst keeping the meaning intact.

For example, "have resulted in several accidents." is the primary information intended to be conveyed here, not the fact that trees are falling.

  • 2
    Maybe. Does the OP think that 1b and 2b are reduced relative clauses? They're not. – deadrat Dec 31 '16 at 16:07
  • I didn't realise this, but you're right. They are reworded to exclude relativizers, but they are not reduced relative clauses. – Frazer Dec 31 '16 at 16:17
  • They look like 'reduced' relatives to me. – BillJ Dec 31 '16 at 18:22
  • I do not understand Farzer point clearly. Can anyone tell me what is the relation between relativizer and reduced relative clause? – Indranil Bar Dec 31 '16 at 18:25
  • @Indranil Bar The relativizer (or relative word) whether overt or covert is a crucial element in a relative clause. It is omitted in the so-called 'reduced' relative clause. – BillJ Dec 31 '16 at 18:50

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