We reduce the adjective clauses to adjective phrases when the adjective pronoun is a subject pronoun right ? we can not reduce it when it is an object pronoun .

Here is my question: we reduce this sentence

Do you know the woman who is talking to Tom?


Do you know the woman talking to Tom?

But in this example "woman" is not a subject it is an object, how is that possible?

2 Answers 2


(1) Do you know [the woman who is talking to Tom]?

(2) Do you know [the woman talking to Tom]?

The contrast between (1) and (2) has nothing to do with ‘reduction’, but that of different kinds of subordinate clause modifying "woman".

In both examples, the bracketed elements are noun phrases and the elements in bold are respectively a relative clause and a non-finite gerund-participial clause. They both modify the noun "woman".

In (1) the subject of the relative clause is "who", which is interpreted as "woman". In (2) the modifying clause is subjectless, as most non-finite clauses are, though we understand the subject to be "woman".

Note that (1) and (2) have the same meaning.

  • Okey what about that example : "I thought the man who was walking down the street was my neighbour" to "I thought the man walking down the street was my neighbour." In that example subject is "I" . Aug 22, 2018 at 18:45

I'm not sure I understand perfectly well, but you could think it as:

The woman who is talking to Tom.


The woman talking to Tom.

In that example, "the woman" is a subject.

Then, going back to your example, you can parse the expression as:

Do (you know the woman) who is talking to Tom?

(where woman is the object, but the rest of the sentence makes no sense), or as

Do you know { the woman who is talking to Tom }?

(where the sentence in brackets is a subordinate).

I hope it helps.


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