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  1. #1
    Holoubkov Guest

    Post Help with using nonfinite clauses instead of relative clauses

    I am a graduate student writing a thesis on the topic of adnominal relative clauses and their equivalents. I've run into this problem. I am having difficulty in understanding what factors promote the use of non-finite forms (-ing participles, -ed participles, and infinitives) in the sentences which could use relative clauses?

    For example in the following sentences, the -ing participial construction in square brackets is used, not the relative clause.

    1) He felt like the president of the republic [standing before four prisoners condemned to death and empowered to pardon only one of them].

    2) There was nothing for it but to go back, like a crab, or like a spider [retreating along its silver thread].

    3)There were footsteps [belonging to God knows whom].

    Why is it that these sentences can be written without the corresponding relative clauses? In example 1, I can just as well write:

    "He felt like the president of the republic WHO WAS standing before four prisoners condemned to death and empowered to pardon only one of them."

    Any help will be appreciated.Thank you.

  2. #2
    mara_ce's Avatar
    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Help with using nonfinite clauses instead of relative clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Holoubkov View Post
    I am having difficulty in understanding what factors promote the use of non-finite forms (-ing participles, -ed participles, and infinitives) in the sentences which could use relative pronouns?
    Reduced relative clauses: the relative pronoun may be deleted in certain cases together with some other elements. There are two types of reduced relative clauses:

    Verbless:
    a)The post modifier to the noun is an adjective or adjectival phrase:
    The articles that are too difficult to understand shoud be left for the end.
    The articles ----- --- too difficult to understand shoud be left for the end.

    b)The post modifier to the noun is an adverb or adverbial phrase:
    The pupils that are here should hand in their papers today.
    The pupils ---- ---- here should hand in their papers today.

    c)The post modifier to the noun is a prepositional phrase:
    The pupils who are at the back canīt hear you.
    The pupils ---- ---- at the back canīt hear you.

    d)The post modifier to the noun is a noun or a noun phrase:
    A hat which is that shape doesnīt suit you.
    A hat ------ -- that shape doesnīt suit you.

    Non-finite:
    a)When the verb in the relative clause is in the progressive aspect we can reduce the clause. The result is a present participial phrase, which is at the same time a non-finite reduced relative clause.

    The woman who is holding a baby in her arms is waiting to see a doctor.
    The woman ---- -- holding a baby in her arms is waiting to see a doctor.

    If the verb is one that is not normally conjugated in the progressive aspect, the relative pronoun may be omitted and the finite verb replaced by a present participle.

    Anyone who wishes to leave early may do so.
    Anyone wishing to leave early may do so.

    b)When the verb in the relative clause is in the passive we can also reduce the clause. The result is a past participial phrase.

    Have you seen the film that was decribed in this paper?
    Have you seen the film ---- ---- decribed in this paper?

    c)There is a third type of non-finite reduced relative clause. The result of this reduction is an infinitival phrase.

    The firt man who arrived was Wilson.
    The firt man to arrive was Wilson.

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