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Context:

The “champions” defended the land on behalf of their king. To be so called “champions” by their king means that such soldiers sacrificed much on behalf of their king and they were also considered heroes among the king's land; such soldiers were heroes equipped, armed, and provided by the people of the king's land; they were overseers among the king's people and directly served the king. The “runners,” on the other hand, were those dedicated to delivering the king's messages to the people throughout the kingdom.

Please do not mind the writing style, nor the content. What I would like to know is if the attributive clause here can do without "who were" after the words "such soldiers were heroes." Is it necessary to add some type of preposition/verb/pronoun before "equipped"? Or Is the grammar acceptable here?

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  • I think the sentence could do without the word "heroes", since you already mention that they were considered heroes in the previous clause. That simple change clears up your grammatical question (such soldiers were equipped...). Also, do you mean "provisioned" when you write "provided"?
    – TimR
    Dec 12, 2015 at 14:26

2 Answers 2

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The grammar of the original clause in question is sound:

such soldiers were heroes equipped, armed, and provided by the people of the king's land

As I analyze it, this is a simple, independent clause.

"Such soldiers" is the subject. "Were" is the copula. "Heroes" is the simple subject complement.

The noun "heroes" is modified by a complicated participial phrase. The phrase begins with a compound participle: "equipped, armed, and provided". Such soldiers were equipped heroes, such soldiers were armed heroes, and such soldiers were provided heroes.

Just as each participle can modify the noun "heroes" separately, they can modify it when compounded: Such soldiers were equipped, armed, and provided heroes.

"By the people of the king's land" is a prepositional phrase. It modifies the compound participle in the manner of a verb's adjunct. It serves as a sensible adjunct of each of the three participles.
 

You can paraphrase this clause by promoting the participial phrase to a relative clause:

such soldiers were heroes who were equipped, armed and provided by the people of the king's land

Some analytic frameworks assume that the relative clause is more fundamental, and that the participial phrase is derived through a process called whiz-deletion. Under such a framework the phrase is labeled a reduced clause. If that's the kind of framework that you understand, then the answer to your question is yes, whiz-deletion is permitted here. The "who were" is optional.

I prefer an analytic framework that assumes the participial phrase as more fundamental than a relative clause. The participial phrase requires no other label. If that's the kind of framework that you understand, then the answer to your question is yes, the participial phrase can modify the noun "heroes" directly. It doesn't require the mediation of a preposition or a verb.
 

That said, I also must say that TRomano's comment has merit.

such solders were equipped, armed and provided by the people of the king's land

The repetition of "heroes" isn't strictly necessary. The participial phrase itself can serve as an argument of the verb "were".

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That construction's fine without expanding it into a relative clause. Attributives with following adjuncts or complements (equipped .. by the people) must with only rare exceptions be placed after the noun they modify.

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  • @ StoneyB Sorry I am not so clear sir. So you are expressing it is acceptable as is? Dec 14, 2015 at 19:51
  • @MovieScriptGuy Yes, I am. There is no need for who were. Dec 14, 2015 at 19:57

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