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We can omit relative pronoun when:

  1. The relative clause is non-defining clause, and the pronoun is the subject of the relative clause with a "be" verb (NOT verb to be).
    • My mother, who is an excellent cook, is thinking of opening a restaurant.

      My mother, an excellent cook, is thinking of opening a restaurant.

      CORRECT

    • Clare, who is working with me, is doing the London marathon this year.

      Clare, working with me, is doing the London marathon this year.

      NOT CORRECT


  1. The relative clause is defining clause.
    • Clare, who I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.

      Clare, I work with, is doing the London marathon this year.

      NOT CORRECT

    • They’re the people who/that she met at Jon’s party.

      They’re the people she met at Jon’s party.

      CORRECT


  1. When the pronoun is the object of the relative clause.

    I didn't like that girl that you brought to the party.

    I didn't like that girl you brought to the party.

    CORRECT


  1. The meaning is NOT changed by that omission.
    • She’s now playing a woman whose son was killed in the First World War.

      She’s now playing a woman son was killed in the First World War.

      NOT CORRECT

    • What's the name of the girl who won the tennis tournament?

      What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament?

      NOT CORRECT


  1. When the relative clause contains a present participle, or past participle, with the auxiliary verb "to be."
    • She was wearing a dress which was covered in blue flowers.

      She was wearing a dress covered in blue flowers.

      CORRECT

    • What's the name of the girl who wins the tennis tournament?

      What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament?

      CORRECT

    • What's the name of the girl who is winning the tennis tournament?

      What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament?

      CORRECT


    AND

    • What's the name of the girl who was winning the tennis tournament?

      It can also be omitted into:

      What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament?

      which is CORRECT as well

As you can obviously see:

  1. What's the name of the girl who was winning the tennis tournament?

  2. What's the name of the girl who won the tennis tournament?

1. and 2. are in past tense, but why can only 1. be omitted?

What if the sentence initially was:

a. What's the name of the girl who won the tennis tournament yesterday evening?

Could it be omitted into the following sentence?

b. What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament yesterday evening?


References:

  1. https://writingcenter.unc.edu/relative-clauses/
  2. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/comma-before-which/
  3. http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/relative.htm
  4. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/relative-clauses/relative-clauses-defining-and-non-defining
  5. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/pronouns/relative-pronouns
  6. http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/auxiliaryverb.htm
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  • the girl winning the tennis tournament yesterday evening is not idiomatic in the English spoken where I'm from, which is spoken from Washington D.C. up through eastern Maryland, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey. And in some dialects of English, you can indeed omit who in such a clause with a simple past verb: For example: :books.google.com/…
    – TimR
    Nov 9, 2018 at 19:01
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Can you show me how to omit a relative clause with a preterite verb please?
    – hbtpoprock
    Nov 10, 2018 at 5:47

1 Answer 1

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What's the name of the girl who was winning the tennis tournament? It can also be omitted into:

What's the name of the girl winning the tennis tournament?

I disagree. The last sentence means, "What's the name of the girl who is currently winning the tennis tournament?"

In other words the tennis match has not finished. Adding 'yesterday evening' does not make sense.

1
  • So if the relative pronoun was a subject of the relative clause that was NOT in present tense, that relative pronoun could NOT be omitted, right?
    – hbtpoprock
    Nov 10, 2018 at 3:06

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