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  1. #1
    sitifan is offline Senior Member
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    Default reduced relative clause

    1. The boy who brings the milk has been ill.
    2. The boy bringing the milk has been ill.
    3. A tile which fell from a roof shattered into fragments.
    4. A tile falling from a roof shattered into fragments.
    Which of the above sentences is NOT acceptable?

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    1. The boy who brings the milk has been ill.
    2. The boy bringing the milk has been ill.
    3. A tile which fell from a roof shattered into fragments.
    4. A tile falling from a roof shattered into fragments.
    Which of the above sentences is NOT acceptable?
    None of them is unacceptable, but 2 and 4 don't have the same meanings as 1 and 3 respectively.

    2 refers to 'the boy bringing the milk'. He must be bringing it quite a long way, as it has been a long enough journey for him to have been ill on the way! (Maybe he had a hangover.)

    4 is even odder. It says that the tile shattered spontaneously in mid-air. (Perhaps this is a new urban sport, a bit like clay-pigeon shooting...) If you wanted to make it clear that the shattering happened after the falling, you would have had to use a past participle: 'A tile, having fallen from a roof, shattered into fragments.' And this defeats the object of reducing the relative clause - "having fallen" isn't shorter than "which fell".

    (Here I am not being entirely serious: people do say 'A tile, falling from a roof...' when they mean 'A tile, having fallen from a roof...'. I wish they wouldn't though. And, without the commas, a_tile_falling_from_a_roof is airborne.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 20-Dec-2008 at 15:12. Reason: Fix typo; and another

  3. #3
    sitifan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    5. The man who drives the car every day is my brother.
    6. The man driving the car every day is my brother.
    7. The man who drove the car yesterday was my brother.
    8. The man driving the car yesterday was my brother.
    Do 5 and 7 have the same meanings as 6 and 8 respectively?
    Last edited by sitifan; 19-Dec-2008 at 21:44.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    I'd say they do. I'll have to think what it about 'driving a car', that makes it behave differently from 'bringing the milk' and 'falling from a roof'. Perhaps other teachers will have a different view...

    b

  5. #5
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    A reduced relative clause is one where the relative pronoun has been omitted and the verb restructured as a participle, an -ing form:

    1. The boy who brings the milk has been ill.
    2. The boy bringing the milk has been ill.
    3. A tile which fell from a roof shattered into fragments.
    4. A tile falling from the roof shattered into fragments.

    5. The man who drives the car every day is my brother.
    6. The man driving the car every day is my brother.
    7. The man who drove the car yesterday was my brother.
    8. The man driving the car yesterday was my brother.

  6. #6
    sitifan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    Typical mistake: *The boy bringing the milk has been ill.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After a noun which refers to something 'definite' (a particular person, thing, group, etc), a participle clause usually has a progressive meaning.
    I like the girl sitting on the right. (Or: . . . who is sitting . . .)
    The men working on the site were in some danger. (Or: . . . who were working . . .)
    To express a non-progressive meaning, use a relative clause.
    The boy who brings the milk has been ill.
    The man who threw the bomb was arrested.
    (Not: *. . . the man throwing . . .)

    When a noun has a more general, less ‘definite’ meaning, participle clauses are possible with ‘simple-tense’ meanings as well as progressive meanings. Compare:
    Women looking after small children generally get paid about 1.50 an hour. (= Women who look . . .)
    The woman who looks after my small brother gets paid about
    1.50 an hour. (Not: *The woman looking . . .)
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    (Practical English Usage, 1st edition, section 454, point 3,Michael Swan)

  7. #7
    sio is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    are there any specific differences between those sentences, e.g.:

    the man who brings milk has been ill.
    the man bringing milk has been ill.

    Do they have same meanings? or slight different meaning? thanks

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: reduced relative clause

    PM from sitifan

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...ve-clause.html
    1. The boy who brings the milk has been ill.
    2. The boy bringing the milk has been ill.

    [1a] The boy who brings the milk every morning has been ill.
    [2a] The boy bringing the milk every morning has been ill.

    Hi,
    In your reply, you said 1 does not have the same meaning as 2. Does [1a] have the same meaning as [2a]? Thank you very much for your reply.
    I suspect there is a British/American distinction here, as Soup's answer was more accommodating than mine! 1a and 2a have the same meaning, because the adverb phrase enforces (what I regard as) an unBritish interpretation of the present participle. Other teachers, and views from other forums, may disagree.

    b

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