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Clause Reduction 2

Reducing a modifying clause

Congress
 

 

Reducing an active voice clause

FULL MODIFYING CLAUSE

A modifying clause with an active voice verb form  can be shortened.  (An active voice verb is one in which the subject of the sentence is the "doer" or "agent" of the action.) 

PRESENT TENSE

The legislature which meets next week will discuss a new bill. (identifying clause)

Congress, which consists of two houses, is on a break.  (nonidentifying clause)

PAST TENSE

The stock market which occured in October worried international businessmen.  (identifying clause)

The NASDAQ Stock Market, which crashed to its lowest point of the year, worried Congress.  (nonidentifying clause) 

REDUCED MODIFYING CLAUSE

The relative pronoun of the clause is deleted and the verb form is changed to a present participle form (-ing). Reducing a clause with nonidentifying information is more common with subject nouns than object nouns.

PRESENT PARTICIPIAL CLAUSE

The legislature meeting next week will discuss a new bill.

? Congress, consisting of two houses, is on a break.

PRESENT PARTICIPIAL CLAUSE

The stock market crash occuring last October worried Congress.

? The NASDAQ Stock Market, crashing to its lowest point of the year, worried Congress.

 

?Questionable usage; usage may vary in this reduced form.
Use commas before and after the clause if the it is a nonidentifying clause (nonrestrictive).
Also see Past Participle Clauses  and Participial Clauses  2 for reducing clauses with passive voice clauses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clause Reduction

Present & Progressive Tenses

 

 

 

Reducing a present tense clause

FULL MODIFYING CLAUSE

A modifying clause with present or present progressive (active voice) verb form  can be reduced or shortened.

SUBJECT MOD CLAUSE VERB + COMP

The senator

who is supporting clean energy  

explained his plan.

The members

which are working late

will pass a new law.

Gas 

that costs over $4 dollars a gallon 

is upsetting citizens.

REDUCED MODIFYING CLAUSE

Remove the relative pronoun (that, who, which) and change the verb form to a present participle form (-ing).  Then (nonfinite) clause becomes part of the subject, now a subject clause.

SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE VERB + COMP

The senator supporting clean energy 

explained his position.

The members working late

will pass a new law.

Gas costing over $4 dollars a gallon

is upsetting citizens.

 

comp – complement: a word, phrase or clause which is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning
This is also known as "That + be" deletion.   [that is] supporting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clause Reduction

Past & Progressive Tenses

 

 

 

Reducing a Past Tense Clause

FULL MODIFYING CLAUSE

A modifying clause with past or past progressive (active voice) verb form  can be reduced or shortened.

SUBJECT MOD CLAUSE VERB + COMP

The senator

who was walking forward 

dropped his glasses. 

The glasses

that lay on the floor 

belonged to the senator.

The speaker 

who was arguing his position 

asked for ten more minutes.

REDUCED MODIFYING CLAUSE

Remove the relative pronoun (that, who, which) and change the verb form to a present participle form (-ing). Then present participial clause becomes part of the subject, now a subject clause.

SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE VERB + COMP

The senator walking forward

dropped his glasses.

The glasses lying on the floor

belonged to the senator.

The speaker arguing his position

asked for ten more minutes.

 

argue a position – speak in favor of a particular idea

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

*The Senate, discussing bills, reviews and passes them. 

The tense is awkward. A shortened clause often gives the meaning that something is ongoing. . 

The Senate discusses, reviews and passes bills.
The sentence would be better stated as a series of verbs.

The Senate, discussing bills, reviews the pros and cons of them. 
(This could mean by discussing or while discussing)
pros and cons – advantages and disadvantages

 

*The speaker dropping his glasses took four vacations with his private jet last year. 

The clause seems unrelated to the rest of the sentence. 

The speaker who just dropped his glasses took four vacations with his private jet last year. 
Keeping the full clause tends to better identify the person talked about in the rest of the sentence..

The speaker talking about over-spending took four vacations with his private jet last year.

 

*A translator speaking several languages is very valuable.

The time frame is awkward in the shortened sentence.  Is the translators activity ongoing?  
 

A translator that can speak several languages is very valuable.

See participial adjectives Ongoing. 

*A man reaching his goals will be very happy in life. 

The time frame is awkward.  Will the happiness occur at the same time or later? 

 

A man who can reach his goals will be very happy in life.  
Shortening a clause with a modal will cause a change in meaning; it doesn't work.

A man who reaches his goals will be very happy in life. 
Use the full clause.
 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.
Related topic: What is the difference?  Gerund-Participles

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Diagrams

 

 

FULL MODIFYING CLAUSE REDUCED MODIFYING CLAUSE

The full modifying clause still has a subject (which) and a verb (consists) marked for tense and person agreement. This is also called a finite clause.

The reduced modifying clause no longer has a subject and the verb is no longer marked for tense or person agreement.  This reduced clause is also called a nonfinite clause.   Other examples

Tree diagram of a nonfinite clause

Click the diagram to enlarge it.

Tree diagram of a nonfinite clause

Clause; Subject / Predicate; Finite / Nonfinite; NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Det. – determiner

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

Practice 

Health

basket of vegetables

 

 

 

Reduce the modifying clause to a participial clause.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "check" button as you go.

 

1.
A healthy diet that includes fruit and fiber will decrease one's risk of cancer.


2.
A family that takes vitamins has fewer visits to the doctor.
   

3.
The study said that children who attended preschool often had more colds.


4.
Joggers who will run in the marathon should get to the stadium early to warm up.

  

5.
A person who does at least 30 minutes of exercise a day will feel better.

A person at least 30 minutes of exercise a day will feel better.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Modern Politicians

young politico
 

 

Read (with full clauses)

Politicians who are running for office are having to make changes in order to appeal to today's youth.  Old-style politicians who boast twenty-five years or more of experience are having difficulty getting younger voters to join their campaigns. A politician who knows how the system works is less valued than a politician who imagines how the system can work in the future. Political loyalties that were once solid and unlikely to change now shift quickly, particularly with so many independent voters. The political power of unions that supported candidates in the past are now weakening and under serious attack.

In the past, politicians who were successful only had to concern themselves with effectively using the television and the news media. Nowadays, politicians who may know nothing about tweeting and posting on social media sites have to appear as if they do. Modern politicians who run for office require a lot of money for expenses. At the same time, modern politicians cannot appear wealthy; they must appear to be like the average person who is struggling with work, family and healthcare. A successful, modern politician is charismatic, captures the imagination of the country's youth and motivates them to work for the good of all.

appeal to (v.) – be attractive; gain favor with

boast (v.) – to talk too proudly about one's accomplishments

charismatic (adj.) – having a natural ability to attract and interest other people and get their admiration

loyalty (n.) –  the quality of remaining faithful to friends

once (adv.) –at some time in the past but not now

potentially (adv.) –  having future possibility to change

struggle (v.) – to try extremely hard to achieve something, even though it is very difficult

weaken (v.) – become less powerful

 

 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Read each sentence and decide if it is correct.  Select your response.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check 11-20" button at the bottom, or click the "check" button as you go.

 

11.
Politicians who running for office are having to make changes in order to appeal to today's youth.

   

12.
Old-style politicians boasting twenty-five years or more of experience are having difficulty getting younger voters to join their campaigns.

   

13.
A politician knowing how the system works is less valued than a politician who imagines how the system can work in the future.

   

14.
Political loyalties were once solid and unlikely to change now shift quickly, particularly with so many independent voters.

   
15.
The political power of unions supported candidates in the past are now weakening and under serious attack.

   

16.
In the past, politicians being successful only had to concern themselves with effectively using the television and the news media.

   
17.
Nowaday, politicians knowing nothing about tweeting and posting on social media sites have to appear as if they do.

   

18.
Modern politicians require a lot of money for expenses running for office.

   

19.
At the same time, modern politicians cannot appear wealthy; they must appear to be like the average person struggled with work, family and healthcare.

   

20.
A successful, modern politician is charismatic, capturing the imagination of the country's youth and motivates them to work for the good of all.