A. Adjective clauses can be reduced in the following 3 ways:
1. You can drop the marker (except “whose”) in an adjective clause when it is followed by a subject and a verb.
The person whom I saw was wearing jeans.
The person I saw was wearing jeans.
The gift that you gave me was very thoughtful.
The gift you gave me was very thoughtful.
The day when we met was in late fall.
The day we met was in late fall.
NOTE: When you drop “where”, you must add: to, at, in, on or from.
The park where we went was north of the city.
The park we went to was north of the city.
The hotel where they stayed was near the airport.
The hotel they stayed at was near the airport.
The city where he was born was flooded.
The city he was born in was flooded.
The street where she lives is nearby.
The street she lives on is nearby.
The university where I graduated is in Toronto.
The university I graduated from is in Toronto.
However, you CANNOT drop the marker in an extra information adjective clause (with commas.)
My sister, who lives in Tampa, is moving to Seattle.
NOT: My sister, lives in Tampa, is moving to Seattle.
(This is wrong because you have 2 verbs (live and are moving) and 1 subject (my sister) but no conjunction like “but.” to connect the 2 verbs. It would be correct to use “but:” My sister lives in Tampa but is moving to Seattle.)
The Nile River, which is 6,650 km. long, is the longest river in the world.
NOT: The Nile River, is 6,650 km. long, is the longest river in the world.
(Again, the subject (Nile River) has 2 verbs (is and is) with no conjunction to connect them. If you add “and,” it is correct: The Nile River is 6,650 km. long and is the longest river in the world.)
2. You can drop who, that, or which and the verb BE at the same time.
The knife that was being used wasn’t very sharp.
The knife being used wasn’t very sharp.
The couple who were sitting in front of us were from Finland.
The couple sitting in front of us were from Finland.
The painting that had been stolen from the museum was recovered.
The painting stolen from the museum was recovered.
The tool which was used to take down the wasp nest was a long pole.
The tool used to take down the wasp nest was a long pole.
3. You can drop who, that, or which and change the verb to the –ing form. (present participle.)
The islands which lie to the west are the Queen Charlottes
The islands lying to the west are the Queen Charlottes.
I remember the old oak tree that gave shade to the backyard.
I remember the old oak tree giving shade to the backyard.
The cherry tree which grows next to the barn is full of fruit this year.
The cherry tree growing next to the barn is full of fruit this year.
4. You can drop the subject and change have to having in the present perfect or past perfect. This can only be done when the adjective has extra information and has commas.
The Martins, who have stayed at Yosemite every summer for the past ten years, are familiar with the area.
The Martins, having stayed at Yosemite every summer for the past ten years, are familiar with the area.
Johnny, who had found his lost dog, was very happy.
Johnny, having found his lost dog, was very happy.
My bicycle, which had been stolen last week, was returned to me undamaged.
Having been stolen last week, my bicycle was returned to me undamaged.
B. Some adjective clauses start with prepositions, although it is more common and less formal to place the preposition at the end of the clause. After these prepositions you can only use which (for things), whom (for people), and whose (for possession.)
The car for which I bought the part was a 1954 Chevy. (formal)
The car (which) I bought the part for was a 1954 Chevy. (less formal)
Jamie, with whom I used to be best friends, is getting married. (formal)
Jamie, whom I used to be best friends with, is getting married. (less formal)
The person at whose house I’m staying is my cousin George. (formal)
The person whose house I’m staying at is my cousin George. (less formal)
C. Some adjective clauses start with expressions of quantity. Again, only
which (for things), whom (for people), and whose (for possession) can be used.
I have three brothers, one of whom is a doctor.
She reads many books, some of which are non-fiction.
John, many of whose friends are still living, celebrated his 95th birthday.
D. Reduced adjective clauses can be placed before the nouns they modify.
Arrested for causing trouble, Paul called his parents.
(Paul, who was arrested for causing trouble, called his parents.)
Running for class president, Henry has to shake a lot of hands.
(Henry, who is running for class president, has to shake a lot of hands.)
Being very popular, Julia is invited to every party during the year.
(Julia, who is very popular, is invited to every party during the year.)
NOTE: Use “being” before adjectives and nouns rather than no verb at all.
Having saved up enough money, his older brother bought a motorcycle.
(His older brother, who had saved up enough money, bought a motorcycle.)
E. Adjective clauses (reduced or not) are separated from the independent clause by commas if:
• they are at the beginning of the sentence.
Coming home after midnight, Jim had to use his key.
Not caring what others thought, Nadine got a tattoo on her neck.
Positive that she was going to win the award, Julie started to stand up.
• they add extra information to the noun they modify.
My brother, whom I haven’t seen in years, is coming to visit me.
Vancouver, lying on the west coast of Canada, is a major port.
The Earth, which has a rotation of 24 hours, is the third planet from the sun
• they modify the whole sentence.
Mary forgot her husband’s birthday, which wasn’t very thoughtful.
(It wasn’t the birthday that wasn’t very thoughtful; it was Mary forgetting his birthday that wasn’t very thoughtful.)
Everyone fell asleep on the floor, which was a strange thing to do.
(It wasn’t the floor that was a strange thing to do; it was falling asleep on the floor that was a strange thing to do.)
The teacher fell off the podium, which made the students laugh.
(It wasn’t the podium that made the students laugh; it was the teacher falling off the podium that made the students laugh.)
Study this page well, and when you think you’re ready, do the exercise below.
© 2013 Ambien Malecot