I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess (Bendis, the Thracian Artemis.); and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. - The Republic of Plato.

Glaucon is the son of Ariston, right? I suppose it should be Glaucon who is the son of Ariston. Can we omit that?

  • No, that's wrong. This has nothing to do with relative clauses, but apposition. See my answer below
    – BillJ
    Mar 24, 2017 at 7:19

2 Answers 2


I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston,

No, you've got it wrong. This is not a relative clause construction, but one of apposition.

The noun phrase “the son of Ariston” is an appositive modifier of the noun Glaucon.

The crucial thing about apposition is that when the appositive modifier is substituted for the whole noun phrase, what remains is an entailment of the original, as here:

I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with the son of Ariston, ...

  • Yes, I was thinking the same thing, but I'm not sure. A relative clause should have a gap. I'll vote it later, I just reached my daily vote :) Mar 24, 2017 at 7:28
  • @user178049 You're right - it's clearly not a relative clause of any kind. And as for the so-called "Whizz Deletion" - well, the less said about that the better!
    – BillJ
    Mar 24, 2017 at 7:34
  • Link Thank you so much. I've never heard about apposition. I could search it more.
    – Ting Choe
    Mar 24, 2017 at 10:08
  • This may help too: link
    – BillJ
    Mar 24, 2017 at 10:12

Yes. This is a common enough pattern in English that it has been given a name: Whiz deletion

  • Could you help me? I couldn't fine a gap in this relative clause. Mar 23, 2017 at 23:28
  • I don't understand the question, @user178049. Whiz deletion says that (in many contexts) you can simply delete "who/which is/was/are/were" .
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 23, 2017 at 23:30
  • 1
    I think you'll find that the OP's example contains an appositive modifier, not some kind of "reduced" relative clause. "The son of Ariston" is not a clause at all but an NP functioning as an appositive modifier of "Glaucon". It's no do different to, for example, "I took my wife to see the opera Carmen", where "Carmen" is appositive modifier of "the opera". ( cc @user178049 )
    – BillJ
    Mar 24, 2017 at 7:21

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