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He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything put in front of him.

How has put been used here? Could anyone please explain?

Is it possible to say that in the following way?

He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything which is put in front of him.

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  • First question: it is past participle form of verb, part of post modifier, which is a past participle clause. Second question: yes possible, where the post modifier is a relative clause. Aug 6 at 12:45
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Yes, you understood correctly. Put is the past participle of the verb "to put" and it is used in a passive reduced relative clause modifying the indefinite pronoun everything (I will put between brackets the omitted part):

He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything [which/that is] put in front of him.

Reduced relative clauses are common in English:

A reduced relative clause is a relative clause that is not marked by an explicit relative pronoun or complementizer such as who, which or that. A participle can often be used instead of a relative pronoun and full verb.
e.g.

  • Bikes that are ridden to school must be left in the bicycle racks. (full relative clause)
  • Bikes ridden to school must be left in the bicycle racks. (participial phrase) (Wikipedia)

Sometimes, as the Wikipedia article shows, reduced relative clauses can be too ambiguous. But your sentence does not have that sort of ambiguity.

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    And in the question's context, it means that he will eat food that other people have served him — but not, presumably, food he has prepared himself.  Which may illuminate the bounds of his claimed vegetarianism.
    – gidds
    Aug 6 at 21:13
  • Correct. If he were the agent of "put", the pronoun he could not be omitted. But then the sentence would not make sense.
    – fev
    Aug 6 at 21:15
  • @gidds I don't see anything in the OP sentence that implies he doesn't prep his own food in addition to eating anything others make. Can you expand?
    – Jontia
    Aug 6 at 21:25
  • If you reduce the relative and say, "He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything put in front of him.", it is simply obvious that others put that food in front of him. If he were the one who put it, you would need to include "he": He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything he put in front of him. But then the sentence would not make sense, because 1. "put" should be in the present ("puts") and 2. it should be "in front of himself, reflexive pronoun needed.
    – fev
    Aug 6 at 21:29
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    To stir the pot a little: “He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything in front of him.” means just about the same as “He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything he sees.” or “He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything.”   By contrast, “He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything put in front of him.” might be interpreted as “He says he's vegetarian, yet he eats everything put in front of him by anybody [else].”, which seems to focus on food presented by others.
    – Scott
    Aug 7 at 0:45

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