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I recently encountered a sentence structure that has piqued my curiosity, and I'm hoping to get some insights from the community here. The structure involves the use of two verbs in a relative clause, where one seems to express perception or cognition and the other describes a state or action. Here are two examples that illustrate this:

"Focus on the design elements that you feel are most strongly represented in that particular work of art."

"Consider the books that you find are most engaging in the library."

I'm pretty sure that they are the right sentences without any grammatical errors since the former one is an excerpt from a TOEFL TPO.

In both examples, the relative clauses ("that you feel are most strongly represented" and "that you find are most engaging") include two verbs: a perception verb ("feel", "find") and another verb forming a passive voice or linking to an adjective ("are represented", "are engaging").

My questions are:

What is the grammatical term for this specific structure involving two verbs within a relative clause?

Is this construction common in English, and are there any rules or guidelines on how to correctly use it?

Thank you in advance!

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    There's nothing particularly strange about this structure that merits its own name. You can put almost anything in a relative clause, as long as you remove the subject or object (whichever is replaced by the relative pronoun). "I feel these design elements are most strongly represented" is an equally valid English sentence. As is "I bought the book which John told me his mate Paul said was probably according to his sister the most relevant to the subject I was studying".
    – Stuart F
    Feb 12 at 16:52

1 Answer 1

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[1] Focus on the design elements [that you feel [ ___ are most strongly represented in that particular work of art]].

[2] Consider the books [that you find [ ___ are most engaging in the library]].

Clauses like the ones in the inner brackets are typically called 'embedded clauses', since they function within the relative clause.

In [1] the relativised element (represented by the gap notation '___', is subject of "are". It's understood that "the design elements" are "most strongly represented ..."

In [2] the relativised element is also subject of "are". It's understood that "the books are most engaging ...").

Embedded clauses within relative clauses are quite common.

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