• Going to the World Cup was a dream come true.

Do you think that this sentence is correct? I don't think so. It seems to me the right form of come should be comes, and we should place a pronoun like which, that before comes. Please say what you think. When are the usages of such kinds of sentence valid?

  • 8
    a dream come true is an idiom. It serves as an indivisible noun phrase. Idioms are usually not analyzed as sum of their parts, although "come true" could be said to function as a postpositive adjective. Or the whole could be seen as an ellipsis of "a dream [that has] come true". Dec 25, 2015 at 18:28
  • 6
    I like the last, the reduced clause explanation, best. A wish come true, a dream come true, a prophesy come true, a life gone astray, a crowd run amok.
    – TimR
    Dec 25, 2015 at 19:15
  • 2
    Similar constructions occur with gone (e.g. "good food gone bad") and turned (e.g. "a big-city cop-turned-vigilante").
    – ruakh
    Jan 9, 2016 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


The comments have it right. It means a dream that has come true and "that has" can be omitted. This works generally for several specific verbs (run, gone, turned). For some constructions it doesn't work:

A man that has become king

Cannot be rephrased to:

*A man become king

Run only works in certain usages, such as run amok or run rampant. Even these usages might be a little questionable.

The athlete that has run a mile

Cannot be rephrased to:

*The athlete run a mile

Additionally, a dream come true is itself a very common idiomatic expression which is rarely phrased any other way (unless the author is intentionally avoiding the idiom).

Also note that this is similar- but not the same as -the omission of that has been. For example,

A man that has been crowned king

Can be rephrased as

A man crowned king

This construction, unlike the one in the original question, works for far more verbs and is far less idiomatic.

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