I came across a sentence

ReWalk was created by Argo’s founder, Amit Goffer, himself quadriplegic as the result of a 1997 ATV accident.

"Who is" is omitted in it. Does that mean I can use similar sentences like

This cake is eaten by him (who is) happy.

He solved a problem (which is) difficult.

I am not native speaker but they sound strange to me.

Can (relative pronoun+ be verb) be omitted in that structure?

1 Answer 1


It's a shrewd guess, but as you suspected neither of these sentences is idiomatic.

This sort of ellipsis (called Whiz-deletion, a jocular contraction of wh- is) has an ancillary "rule": if only a single adjective is left after the deletion it must be moved in front of the noun:

He solved a problem which was difficult ⇨ okHe solved a difficult problem.

But you can't do this with him, because personal pronouns cannot take attributive adjectives (except in certain exclamations):

The cake is eaten by him happy ⇨ The cake is eaten by happy him.

It should be pointed out that neither of the sentences you put forward is natural in English, with or without the deletion. The problem sentence would never be uttered, because the natural way of saying this is with the ordinary preposed attributive: He solved a difficult problem. And him who is happy is a very literary construction; the happy man/guy/fellow is the natural way of saying this. Better examples would be something like these:

The cake was eaten by someone who was happy to find it.
He solved a problem which was too difficult for me.

Moreover, it is not clear that the himself quadriplegic phrase at the end of the first sentence should be regarded as a relative clause. It is clearly a supplement or afterthought, and I would be happier understanding it as an appositive.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .