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I know there’s a universal agreement that an adjective clause can be reduced to an adjective phrase. However, I’d like to know whether the same rule could apply to the informal use of an adjective clause that modifies the preceding whole sentence.

I’ve noticed the similar structure keep appearing from my daily reading materials, such as “All these viruses are zoonotic, meaning that they can pass from animals to people ...“ in New Yorker or “Hungry seagulls in Italy have started hunting rats, a return to their natural predatory state that ...” in WP.

I’d like to prove my hypothesis is correct, because I haven’t found any evidence on grammar books yet.

Thanks a lot!

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    What do you mean? You've given examples of two sentences. How are you proposing they could be reduced? Note that neither sentence has an adjectival clause after its comma. They are simply elided (or slightly rephrased) nonrestrictive clauses. (1) All these viruses are zoonotic, [which means] that they can pass from animals to people. (2) Hungry seagulls in Italy have started hunting rats, [which is] a return to their natural predatory state. May 13 '20 at 2:13
  • An example of an adjectival phrase is something like the following: Sitting on the table was a book, green and open to page 12. May 13 '20 at 2:16
  • My conjecture is that using “this” or “that” to represent the previous idea could be adopted, and so could the relative pronoun, which, that acts as both a pronoun and a conjunction. Therefore, one of the sentences aforementioned could be re-written as “All these viruses are zoonotic, which means they can pass from animals to human.” Supposing that all adjective clauses could be transformed into adjective phrases, and so could these examples I submitted.
    – Raymond
    May 13 '20 at 3:07

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