Which one is correct? (or maybe both ?!)

  1. I was thinking of an appliance, gives human the capability of ~ ( or that gives human the ~)

  2. I was thinking of an appliance, giving human the capability of ~

Edit :

in the 1st one I omited "that", because i know we can some times omit unnecessary words, here's an example :

I was driving my car , suddenly i saw a dead cat!

changes to : driving my car I saw a dead cat


saw a dead cat driving my car.

so can i do the same with my 1st sentence?

  • Welcome to ELL. Please tell us which sentence you think is correct, and why. What research have you done on your own? This will help us to provide a useful answer. Please read our tour and Help Center pages, and also our Details, Please meta post. They will help you write useful questions! – P. E. Dant Jun 13 '17 at 18:30

In your case, the 1st choice only works if you use "that gives human the".

"Appliance" is the correct spelling.

Also, "appliance" followed by comma then "gives" is not grammatically correct.

I could go deeper into why it is not correct; but since your question is concerning “that gives me” vs “giving me”, I can tell you that both are correct for the two examples you are using here.

  • @Man_From_India Sentence #2 is not wrong, it is correct. "I was thinking of an apliance, gives human the capability of" is wrong. – pike Jun 13 '17 at 17:14
  • 1
    Actually, both sentences omit the article, and the phrase "...that gives human the..." includes an error of number, so referring to either of them as "correct" does no service to the OP. (By the way, don't you think the noun comma should take an article, as well?) – P. E. Dant Jun 13 '17 at 18:38
  • @Man_From_India and Pike: I think both are wrong. #1 lacks the relative pronoun. #2 is a typical example of dangling participles. – Cardinal Jun 13 '17 at 19:06
  • i mean , i once read in an english student book that we can ommit some unnecessary words like "that" ... what about that? – parvin Jun 13 '17 at 19:36
  • @parvin - you have to know when that word is unnecessary and omissible, and when it isn't. – J.R. Jun 13 '17 at 21:39

I was thinking of an appliance, gives human the capability of...

This sentence beginning is not grammatical. The word "gives" is a verb and consequently cannot modify a noun (appliance). You must either use a participial phrase (a phrase that begins with a verb form and behaves as an adjective) or an adjectival clause (a mini-sentence that behaves as an adjective.

So your two choices are:

Adjectival clause

I was thinking of an appliance that gives humans the capability...

and as you have correctly identified:

Participial phrase

I was thinking of an appliance giving humans the capability...

Both of these are grammatical and mean the same thing as far as I can tell. However, I believe that the first choice is better in almost all circumstances. This is due to a possible ambiguity that the participial phrase could have. It is not uncommon (in spoken English at least) for participial phrases at the end of a sentence to modify the subject of the sentence rather than the noun they follow. For example, take the following sentence.

I hit a watermelon driving to work.

It is clear from context that "driving to work" describes "I" since "watermelons" typically do not drive.

However, in the following sentence:

I ran into my friend walking to school

It is not clear who was walking to school. It could be "I", "friend" or both.

Note: I'm not certain if those sentences are completely grammatical however I am certain that they come up in conversation. So whether or not they are grammatical might not even be a good question.

Such ambiguity is not present with the adjectival clause.

Also as a side note

It is not correct to say "...that gives human..." You are required to include an article or use the plural. "...that gives the/a human..." and "...that gives humans..." are all acceptable depending on what you wish to say.


Regarding omitting "that". I'm not 100% certain of this but I believe that "that" can only be reliably omitted when the clause the begins with "that" is a noun clause and in the predicate (after the verb).

For example:

I know that he hit the watermelon.

I know he hit the watermelon.

Those two sentences are both acceptable and identical in meaning. "That he his the watermelon" is behaving as a noun and in the predicate so it is acceptable to drop "that". I'm sure this has been treated far more extensively elsewhere on ESL Stack Exchange.

I'm not immediately able to see where you are going with the rest of your edit and I have to leave. I'll complete this answer later today. Could you please use complete sentences in your edit. It makes it difficult to see if your mistakes are intentional.

Note: "sometimes" is one word

  • thank you. would you please check my post again? i edited it and i have still questions about this. thanks. – parvin Jun 13 '17 at 19:53


1. I was thinking of an appliance, gives human the capability of ...

2. I was thinking of an appliance giving human the capability of ...

3. I was thinking of an appliance that gives human the capability of ...

Sentence #1 is grammatically incorrect. But both sentence #2 and sentence #3 are correct.

WHY sentence #1 IS INCORRECT, BUT sentence #3 IS CORRECT?

Consider the sentence below:

I was thinking of an [appliance] [(that) ___ gives human the capability of ...]

The part - that gives human the capability of ... - is a Relative clause and the antecedent of the relative clause is the Noun - appliance. The gap inside the relative clause is marked by the "___", is actually the subject position. The antecedent is clearly the subject of the relative clause. So whenever the gap of the relative clause denotes a subject position of the relative clause, the relative elements (e.g who, which etc) or subordinator (e.g that) is not omitted.

In your case the subordinator that is omitted, and therefore your sentence #1 is incorrect, but your sentence #3 is correct.

WHY sentence #2 IS CORRECT?

I was thinking of an appliance giving human the capability of ...

The predicator (FUNCTION), realized by the verb (WORD CLASS) - think, can license a Preposition Phrase (PP) as its complement - here, of an appliance giving human the capability of ....

Inside the PP structure there is a head Preposition - here, of - and the complement of the head Preposition is a Gerund-Participle clause - here, an appliance giving human the capability of .... In your case the Gerund-Participle clause has an explicit subject - an appliance.


(I didn't understand how omitting that just like your first sentence is relevant in the part after your "EDIT" in your question)

4. I saw a dead cat driving my car.

5. Driving my car, I saw a dead cat.

In these sentences the Gerund-Participle clause - driving my car - doesn't have an explicit subject. The subject is implicit - I. So naturally the structure of these sentence is not similar to that of the sentences in PART 1 of my answer. Therefore not comparable.

In case of sentence #2, the Gerund-Participle clause is a complement inside PP structure, that in turn is a complement of the verb - think. In sentence 4 and sentence #5, the Gerund-Participle clause is an adjunct. Hence, unlike sentence #2, the Gerund-Participle clause in sentence #4 and #5 are easily movable.

  • (+1) I forgot to say that, in the comment above, that comma before "giving" makes it problematic. – Cardinal Jun 14 '17 at 6:42

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