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I got this information while learning about “reduced relative clause”. Is the given information correct?

I know that we can reduce a relative clause even if it modifies an object of a verb. Thus we can reduce the second example as:

I gave a book written by Hemingway to Mary last week.

But I am totally confused after seeing it. When can we reduce a relative clause?

2 Answers 2


I don't know where that site got the idea that "a sentence cannot be reduced because the relative clause ... modifies an object of the verb ..."

As you say, this is nonsense.

I gave a book written by Hemingway to Mary last week (with a defining reduced relative clause) is fine, as is I gave a book, written by Hemingway, to Mary last week (with a non-restrictive reduced relative clause)

  • As every grammar says it is possible for the Past Participle phrase if it only occurs in the final position immediately after the noun that it modifies. In such case the phrase doesn’t need a comma. In every other case of its syntax, the Participle Phrase modifies the subject of a sentence only. There are many tests to prove you are wrong with your example of the so called middle position of the Phrase. Though, I know it is not the case in the informal speech.
    – kngram
    Jun 1, 2020 at 11:26
  • @kngram "Participle phrase modifies the subject of a sentence only" — this usually applies to the traditional 'dangling participle'. This is not the case here. A reduced relative clause can freely modify a noun. Jun 1, 2020 at 12:12
  • ) You can contradict your own academicians without any hint of hesitatation. We have nothing in common to discuss the topic in the case. You follow the regularities of the informal way of speech.
    – kngram
    Jun 1, 2020 at 12:17
  • @kngram: The "informal way of speech". Like, "is to be found in a book written by one of the great researchers in the area" (Drive to Distraction, E.Halliwell, 1995) .;" published a review of a book written by and about an important woman" (correspondence in The New Repulic, 12/11/71; "The one maddening thing is, that for a book written by a camera man, this one is most stingily illustrated." (Time, 1926/02/1). Very informal, those contexts.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 1, 2020 at 13:30
  • ) I am not an obstinate prescriptivist, you know. And, I know very well when and where somebody might use each, not only in theoretical way. Thanks for the links.
    – kngram
    Jun 1, 2020 at 13:41

It is not a question about a reduced relative clause actually. The real topic of the question is the semantics of the sentences mentioned. The first sentence is not acceptable semantically without a defining relative clause who works at Costco. The second is acceptable in any case, for example, I gave a book to her last week.

Such difference is basic in relation to the types of the relative clauses, it is a defining one or not. So, your question is about a determiner which could be put in the attributive position in the sentence, I gave (...) book written by Hemingway. If you put an indefinite article, your interlocutor, who understands English in accordance with the rules of the educated majority, can not understand what your real intention of conveying such information is semantically. So, the right way of saying it is only that follows: I gave a book, which was written by Hemingway,... The explanation according to the grammatical approach is here: https://www.thoughtco.com/reduced-relative-clauses-1211107

This notorious discussion contain many examples of unsupported personal opinions of informal speech users, * https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/reduced-relative-clause.2992184/

  • This is not a good answer. It contains factual errors and spelling mistakes.
    – BillJ
    Jun 1, 2020 at 10:25
  • Sorry, the notificator didn't inform timely. I could get your comment a bit. It seems you consider an answer which is a controversial point as a correct one. The explanation of the site is about the defining and nondefining relative clauses in a complex noun phrase. The question is changed to the past participle clause in a complex noun phrase in the OP. Nobody turned their attention to such major logical violation.Then, more to that, they started to condemn a correct note from the learning site.
    – kngram
    Aug 11, 2020 at 19:19

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