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The 4-year-olds often chose to look at the marshmallows while waiting, a strategy that was not terribly effective.

Can I omit "that was" in the sentence above?

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    Yes: you can. The AdjP "not very effective" would then be a post-head modifier of "strategy". – BillJ Apr 19 at 9:55
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Absolutely not, the sentence would not make sense without. If you really want to drop that was then try:

... a not terribly effective strategy.

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    The sentence makes perfect sense without "that was". – Michael Harvey Apr 19 at 10:39
  • @MichaelHarvey While vaguely intelligible, I cannot see any way to regard it as grammatically correct, and would challenge you to show any native speaker doing so. – Mike Brockington Apr 19 at 12:13
  • @MichaelHarvey None of those example have the same structure as the OP's post. – Mike Brockington Apr 19 at 13:50
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    @MikeBrockington The word is spelled sentence, not sentance. – Ronald Sole Apr 19 at 14:56

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