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Today I bumped into this:

  1. "The woman responsible for this incident is not here at the moment."

The sentence sounds perfectly natural and easy for the ears. However, when I replace "the woman" with:

  1. "Tracy responsible for this incident is not here at the moment."

The whole thing becomes odd. To the extent of my knowledge, proper nouns and common nouns share all the placements and functions in a sentence so is this just my personal feeling or the 2nd sentence sounds weird to you.

On another note, I know that reduced relative pronoun can serve as attribute adjective in certain case like:

  1. "the man standing in the corner is my friend"

when the clause is in participle form

To my surprise I came across:

  1. "the people angry at the law are protesting"

To reiterate:

a/ Is the usage of sentence (2) correct, is there a rule to it?

b/ Can you just use any kind of adjective phrase to modify a noun and not just participle adj phrase like number (4)?

Thank you for reading.

  • 2
    I think you should replace "the woman responsible for the incident" with "Tracy". Because, Tracy sits in the place of the subject of the sentence, and the subject is the whole expression, the woman responsible for the incident. – Omid Reza Abbasi Jun 8 '18 at 4:12
  • ....The whole thing becomes odd -no, it doesn't! :) – Maulik V Jun 8 '18 at 5:32
  • so i can write "Tracy responsible for this incident...." and "the people angry at the law... " without getting flamed for it? Also a side note, so by saying Tracy directly i can skip the adj phrase right, is it an English thing, cuz i'm not a native speaker and i find just stating the name lacking in information. Cheers – Jessi Jun 9 '18 at 7:05
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a/ Is the usage of sentence (2) correct, is there a rule to it?

To understand this better, form the sentence:

Tracy is the woman.

Doe it make sense? I there something missing? Without any context, this sentence does not make sense. The same goes for:

Tracy is the woman responsible.

Responsible for what?

The sentence is finally complete like this:

Tracy is the woman responsible for this incident.

Therefore, the original sentence should be re-written as:

  1. Tracy is not here at the moment.

b/ Can you just use any kind of adjective phrase to modify a noun and not just participle adj phrase like number (4)?

Yes, phrases can be used instead of simple words, exactly like in your example. Of course, "any kind" is a bit forced, since the phrase must fit with the rest of the sentence, but leaving that aside, there is no other problem.

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