While I was searching for the rules governing the omission of relative pronouns, I found the best explanation in the previous answer.

According to a 'null-relativizer’, I was wondering whether the following sentence makes sense.

Original sentence: That way, they create a perception of honesty from which they can be more persuasive about the strengths of the product. (excerpted from a textbook)

-> That way, they create a perception of honesty they can be more persuasive about the stregths of the product from.

As far as I understand, this form can be possible because the relative pronoun "which" can be omitted as an object of "from".

Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • 2
    Your second example is possible, but it is somewhat clumsy and difficult for the reader to digest due to the amount of material between the head and the preposition "from". As you noted, the subordinator "that" is omissible, thus it would be a "bare" relative clause with a "stranded" preposition in final position.
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 9:51
  • 1
    Your version doesn't work very well largely because the original sentence is not very good. We don't often do things "from perceptions". Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


You are correct. In contexts where the wh- relatives are not obligatory they may be omitted = "replaced by the null-relativizer".

(These contexts happen to be the same as those where a wh- relative may be replaced by that. This is probably why linguists tend to say that "relative/subordinator that may be omitted" rather than "the relativizer may be omitted".)

However, "may be omitted" is not the same thing as "ought to be omitted". In your example the gap which the relativizer signals is much too far away for the sentence to be easily parsed. You would do better to leave the relativizer in place, along with its pied-piped preposition: from which gives readers a stronger signal of what sort of gap to look for and strengthens their willingness to persevere all the way to the end of the sentence.

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    +1 There's also the problem that the original sentence is not great. We don't generally do things from perceptions. It's a pretty nasty original sentence, I reckon! Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 10:27
  • 2
    @Araucaria Yah. In my shop we call fixing this sort of thing "turd-polishing". Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 10:38

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