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I've recently learnt about relative clauses from reading two websites. I see a conflict between them

The last sentence of the small above passage means that defining clauses will never stand after commas, and you can't leave out the relative pronoun in non-defining relative clauses

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These are examples showing how to reduce a relative clauses. In the first example:

"The product, which seemed perfect in many ways, failed to succeed in the market. Reduced: The product, perfect in many ways, failed to succeed in the market"

In the origin sentence, the relative clause "which seemed perfect in many years" stands after commas, so in the knowledge from the first source => it is a non-defining clause. In the first source, however, the author also says that you can't leave out the relative pronoun in non-defining relative clauses, you can see in the "reduced sentence", the pronoun "which" has been removed.

So Are two sources contradictory ?. I'm looking forwards to your help. Thank you.

  • Despite what you may read, there's no such thing as a 'reduced relative clause'. The term is a misnomer. Non-finite clauses can be modifiers in NP structure, and even have the same meaning as relative clauses, but they are actually gerund-participial or past-participial clauses, not relative ones. – BillJ Sep 2 at 11:12
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The word "reductive" shouldn't be substituted for "reduced", because it has a different meaning in English.

When a relative clause is "reduced" to an adjective phrase with equivalent meaning, it is no longer a relative clause, and in one of your two examples (perfect in many ways), it isn't a clause at all. In both cases, there is no pronoun remaining.

Note that the non-defining reduced forms in your examples are still set off by commas, because they still have non-essential information. They are adjuncts, and can be removed from the sentence without making it ungrammatical.

Here is an example of a defining relative clause reduced to an adjective phrase:

Relative clause:
The boy who is pleased by his grades will probably like his teacher.

(That is defining because it talks only about a boy pleased by his grades. One who is not pleased may not like his teacher.)

Adjective phrase:
The boy pleased by his grades will probably like his teacher.

Note that the reduced form "pleased by his grades" is still defining, and is not set off by commas.

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  • Urgh, I do not like the adjective phrase version of that example. That's how we get garden-path sentences like "The horse raced past the barn fell". – Darth Pseudonym Sep 2 at 17:08
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BillJ has given you half the answer in his comment, but I'll expand it a bit.

A relative clause that is defining is not normally in a separate breath group (so if we happen to write it down, we don't use commas), and the relative pronoun may often be omitted: but it is still a finite clause, with a finite verb.

A non-defining (or non-restrictive) relative clause is in a separate breath group (so if we happen to write it down, we use commas), and you cannot omit the relative pronoun. It is a finite clause, with a finite verb.

The things your second source calls Reduced relative clauses are not relative clauses: the same meaning can usually be expressed by a relative clause, but that doesn't mean that they are relative clauses of any kind.

They are not finite clauses. They are adjectival phrases - your first example doesn't contain even a non-finite verb. The second one is a non-finite (participial) clause, functioning as an adjectival phrase.

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