I wonder if I can reduce below sentence : "The man who won yesterday's lottery lives next door." into "The man winning yesterday's lottery lives next door."

If no, can you please let me know the reason behind? Thank you.

3 Answers 3


Yes. 1. The man who won yesterday's lottery lives next door is no different from 2. The man winning yesterday's lottery lives next door.

In #1, who won yesterday's lottery is a relative clause that modifies the man. In #2, the man is modified by a gerund-participial clause winning yesterday's lottery. You can call #2 a reduced version of #1 if you want to—it's up to you.

  • 1
    "the man winning' is interchangeable with "the man who wins". It is a different time reference than "who won", so it has a different meaning. The answer should be no. Mar 11, 2018 at 5:06

I would say no for two reasons:

  1. No native speaker would say it that way.
  2. In this case the word "winning" would be in place of the past tense "won." "Wining" is the present participle and you cannot use present referring to the past right?

Since the participle is tenseless, it is not ungrammatical to use it as you have done. But a native speaker of American English wouldn't use it as you have done, and I don't think a speaker of British English would do so either when referring to a discrete action or event that took place and was completed in the past ("yesterday's lottery").

However, it is not impossible to perceive "winning the lottery" as a process, the announcement, the hoopla, the posing for pictures with a broad smile and giant check, etc. But then you'd be describing an ongoing circumstance:

Winning last month's lottery, they got swept up in the hoopla and forgot to feed their cat.

So this would be marginally possible:

The people winning last month's lottery got swept up in the hoopla and forgot to feed their cat.

It would be much more natural to use the present participle in a reduced clause when referring to a future circumstance:

The salesman selling the fewest widgets buys the others lunch at month-end.

The person winning tomorrow's lottery won't win much.

or to a general state of affairs, something that is always true in a given context:

The player having the most points wins the game.

The person winning the lottery receives a giant check.

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