Reduced Relative Clauses
We can use participle clauses after a noun in the same way as relative clauses. This gives more information about the noun. We sometimes call this a 'reduced relative clause'.
1: A present participle (verb + ing) can be used in the same way as an active relative clause:
- The man driving the car is a friend of mine.
- (= The man who is driving the car is a friend of mine).
The present participle can replace any active tense, not just the present continuous tense:
- Lorries coming over the bridge have to be careful of the wind.
- (= Lorries that come over the bridge have to be careful of the wind).
- Who was the girl wearing the red dress?
- (= Who was the girl who was wearing the red dress?).
- Students handing in their essays late will lose ten marks.
- (= Students who hand in their essays late will lose ten marks).
2: A past participle can be used in the same way as a simple passive relative clause:
- We read the email sent by the manager.
- (= We read the email that had been sent by the manager).
- This vase, made in China in the 14th century, is very valuable.
- (= This vase, which was made in China in the 14th century, is very valuable).
- She only eats cakes made by her mother.
- (= She only eats cakes that are made by her mother).
3: 'Being + past participle' can be used in the same way as a continuous passive relative clause:
- The poem being read by the actor was written by my brother.
- (= The poem that is being read by the actor was written by my brother).
- The strawberries being eaten at the wedding were grown in Scotland.
- (= The strawberries that are being eaten at the wedding ).
Things to notice:
1: We generally don't use perfect participles ('having + past participle') in this case.
2: We can't use this kind of participle clause if we're talking about one finished action which is not repeated:
Who was the girl dropping the coffee?
- Who was the girl who dropped the coffee?
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