2

I saw a question today asking which one is correct, and the answer is (2)

(1)

Literacy opened up entire realms of verifiable knowledge to ordinary men and women having been previously considered incapable of discerning truth for themselves.

(2)

Literacy opened up entire realms of verifiable knowledge to ordinary men and women who had previously been considered incapable of discerning truth for themselves.

Question:

I originally thought both are ok because I remember adjective clauses involving participles, both "which had.." or "which have...", can be reduced to "having..."

Am I wrong? Or there are other reasons that make (2) the answer?

1
  • The title of your question does not quite match up with the question itself. "Which" ~ "who". – BillJ Aug 10 '20 at 18:07
1

[1] Literacy opened up entire realms of verifiable knowledge to ordinary men and women [having been previously considered incapable of discerning truth for themselves].

[2] Literacy opened up entire realms of verifiable knowledge to ordinary men and women [who had previously been considered incapable of discerning truth for themselves].

I'd say that [1] is acceptable. The bracketed gerund-participial modifies "men and women", just as the bracketed relative clause does in [2].

[1] is semantically similar to [2], but I wouldn't call it a (reduced) relative clause since there is no possibility of it containing a relative phrase (cf. *men and women who having been previously considered incapable of discerning truth for themselves].

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  • Thanks for the answer. One question here. Do you mean that actually both (1) and (2) are the same meaning, but somehow the test itself thinks (2) is more appropriate? Maybe (2) is more unambiguous? By the way, I remember some sources call the usage in (1) "a reduced adjective clause" or "a reduced relative clause." There are so many names for it. – vincentlin Aug 11 '20 at 2:03
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    @vincentlin Yes, they have similar meanings. I prefer [2], but [1] is grammatically acceptable. I don't use the terms' adjective clause' or 'reduced relative clause' (for the reason I gave in my answer. [1] is best described as a gerund-participial clause functioning as a modifier in noun phrase structure. – BillJ Aug 11 '20 at 8:12
  • Do you think active voice can also work? (1) "I interviewed scientists who had conducted a secret experiment." (2) "I interviewed scientists having conducted a secret experiment." Do you think (1) can be reduced (2) and they have the same meanings? – vincentlin Aug 11 '20 at 9:34

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