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Question:

I wonder if I can reduce a relative clause with perfect tense in it (present or past perfect).

It is a topic few sites talk about, so I ask it here.


Examples I came up with:

1. Original:

I interviewed a few scientists who had worked at this lab.

Reduced to:

I interviewed a few scientists having worked at this lab.

Original:

I gave food to a kitten who had eaten a lot of cat food, and she didn't seem interested.

Reduced to:

I gave food to a kitten having eaten a lot of cat food, and she didn't seem interested.

Original:

She is a teacher who has taught in school. We can trust her teaching methods.

Reduced to:

She is a teacher having taught in school. We can trust her teaching methods.

2

No, you can't do that and preserve the meaning. In the first two examples, the second version implies that 'I' had worked at the lab or eaten cat food. The 'having' clause is assumed to refer to the subject of the sentence.

In your third example, why not say She is an experienced teacher?

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  • How about: "The scientists having worked at the lab were interviewed by me." Is this one correct? Is it because my example (1) and (2) can be ambiguous? I mean, I wonder whether you are saying they can actually be reduced like that, but it can confuse listeners because of the other meanings like the one you said. About the teacher example, I just came up with a sentence structure with present perfect tense in it. It merely serves as an example for my question. – vincentlin Aug 11 at 8:57
  • Scientists working at the lab were interviewed by me - sounds OK. Scientists having worked at the lab were interviewed by me - sounds very strange. – Ram Pillai Aug 11 at 9:02
  • I observe a distinction in these uses. E.g., Scientists working at the lab were interviewed by me vs. Scientists working at the lab met me in an interview(.) Scientists having worked at the lab were interviewed by me vs. Scientists having worked at the lab met me in an interview. The second of each pair sounds better than the first. Isn't it because, the first of the pairs are in passive voice, and the second ones in the active voice? – Ram Pillai Aug 11 at 9:08
  • @RamPillai I do think the second ones sound better. So, do you agree that present and past perfect tenses like examples (1) and (2) can be reduced like that? – vincentlin Aug 11 at 9:21
  • I think so. However, for the sake of aesthetics, you may also consider, a) The scientists who have worked at the lab were interviewed by me. (I interviewed the scientists who have worked at the lab). b) The scientists, who are working at the lab, were interviewed by me. (I interviewed the scientists who work (are working) at the lab.) – Ram Pillai Aug 11 at 10:33

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