Reduced adjective clauses (rules and examples)

This post will help you understand what a reduced adjective clause is, and how to reduce an adjective clause to an adjective phrase or an adjective.

Before we understand how to reduce adjective clauses and why to do it, let’s get familiar with adjective clauses first.

What is an adjective clause?

An adjective clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun or a pronoun. It starts with a relative pronoun and comes right next to the noun or pronoun it modifies.

Relative pronouns: who, whom, that, which, whose

NOTE: adjective clauses can start with a relative adverb too. Relative adverbs: when, where, why

Examples:

  • The girl who is performing on the stage is my sister.
  • Do you know the man that is looking at me right now?
  • I don’t know anyone who is a master in public speaking.
  • We all need a person whom we can trust blindly.
  • Jane has been looking for a place where she can stay for a couple of days.
  • I still remember the time when we didn’t even have money to eat food.
  • Can you call the guy whose father is a doctor?
  • The reason why I didn’t call you last night is because I was unwell.

All the above adjective clauses (colored red) are providing essential information about the noun/pronoun they are modifying (words in bold). But adjective clauses are also used to give extra or non-essential information about a noun. We call them non-essential adjective clauses, and they are offset using commas.

 • My father, who is an amazing cook, loves helping people.
 • We are planning to visit the Taj Mahal, which is a beautiful monument.
 • Rahul, whose father is the CEO of this company, is my childhood friend.

NOTE 1: the pronoun ‘which‘ is always used with a non-essential adjective clause.

 • Delhi, which is the capital of India, is my birth place. (we already know what Delhi is)
 • We are all excited to go to London, which is very popular for its beautiful weather.

NOTE 2: both the relative pronouns ‘who‘ and ‘whose‘ can be used to give essential or non-essential information about a noun or a pronoun. So, they are used in both essential adjectives clauses and non-essential adjective clauses.

Essential adjective clauses (who and whose)

  • A man who stays happy in all situations is rare to find.
  • Have you ever seen a guy whose life is as sad as mine?

Here, both the adjective clauses are providing essential information to identify the noun they are modifying.

Non-essential adjective clauses (who and whose)

  • Rahul, who is my roommate, wants to date you.
  • Tina, whose father is my tuition teacher, loves me.

In these sentences, who and whose are used in the adjective clauses to give extra information as the nouns they are modifying are already identified.

Examples of an reduced adjective clause?

Adjective clauses are often reduced to regular adjectives, adjective phrases, present participle phrases, past participle phrases, prepositional phrases, or appositive phrases, based on the structure of the adjective clauses.

Let’s look at some examples of reduced adjective clauses before we understand how they are reduced, and why we do it.

  • Adjective clause: The person who is singing on the stage is my friend.
  • Reduced adjective clause: The person singing on the stage is my friend.
  • Adjective clause: It is a beautiful book that is written by S.N. Sharma.
  • Reduced adjective clause: It is a beautiful book written by S.N. Sharma.
  • Adjective clause: The guy that lives with you is my sister’s boyfriend.
  • Reduced adjective clause: The guy living with you is my sister’s boyfriend.
  • Adjective clause: I can’t think of a fight that is as good as this one.
  • Reduced adjective clause: I can’t think of a fight as good as this one.
  • Adjective clause: Could you please pass me the bottle that is colored red.
  • Reduced adjective clause: Could you please pass me the bottle colored red?

 • Adjective clause: Do you know the guy who is sitting on your car?
 • Reduced adjective clause: Do you know the guy sitting on your car?

  • Adjective clause: The books that are on my table can change your life.
  • Reduced adjective clause: The books on my table can change your life.
  • Adjective clause: Jon Jones, who is a mixed martial artist, got arrested last night.
  • Reduced adjective clause: Jon Jones, a mixed martial artist, got arrested last night.

How to reduce an adjective clause?

Adjective clauses are written in different tenses and with different structures. We reduce an adjective clause to an adjective phrase or regular adjective based on the structure it has. A reduced adjective clause is also known as a reduced relative clause as an adjective clause is also called a relative clause.

Note that some adjective clauses can’t be reduced at all. We will be looking at them too. Let’s first understand all the different structures of adjective clauses that can be reduced.

Case 1: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + present participle (V1+ing) + object/modifier (optional)

When an adjective clause has the above structure, we can reduce it to a present participle phrase (adjective) by taking out the ‘relative pronounand the ‘to be form of verb.’

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + present participle (V1+ing) + object/modifier (optional)
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + present participle (V1+ing) + object/modifier (optional)

Examples:

  • The girl who is standing next to Max is my school crush. (adjective clause)
  • The girl standing next to Max is my school crush. (reduced adjective clause)

Notice that we have just taken out the relative pronoun ‘who‘ and the verb ‘is‘ to reduce the adjective clause (who is standing next to Max) to the adjective phrase (standing next to Max).

More examples

  • The man who is wearing the red jacket looks just like the guy that is living with you. (adjective clause)
  • The man wearing the red jacket looks just like the guy living with you. (reduced adjective clause)
  • We should get the child who is sleeping under the bridge some food. (adjective clause)
  • We should get the child sleeping under the bridge some food. (reduced adjective clause)

NOTE: we can still reduce an adjective clause to an adjective phrase if the present participle is in the passive form,

Structure:

  • Active: relative pronoun + to be verb + present participle (V1+ing) + object/modifier (optional)
  • Passive: Relative pronoun + to be verb + being + past participle (V3) + object/modifier (optional)
  • I am not sure about the authenticity of the tests that are being conducted in his lab. (adjective clause, present continuous tense active voice)
  • I am not sure about the authenticity of the tests being conducted in his lab. (reduced adjective clause, present continuous tense passive voice)

Case 2: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + past participle (V3) + object/modifier (optional)

Like the case 1, take out the ‘relative pronoun’ and the ‘to be verb’ to reduce the adjective clause to an adjective phrase. Note that in this structure, the adjective clause is in the Simple Present tense passive voice or the Simple Past tense passive voice.

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + past participle (V3) + object/modifier (optional)
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + past participle (V3) + object/modifier (optional)

Examples:

  • All the people who are fired without a prior notice are planning to move to the court and sue the company. (adjective clause)
  • All the people fired without a prior notice are planning to move to the court and sue the company. (reduced adjective clause)
  • You can’t heal a heart that is broken multiple times. (adjective clause)
  • You can’t heal a heart broken multiple times. (reduced adjective clause)
  • His book that was published last year is amazing. (adjective clause)
  • His book published last year is amazing. (reduced adjective clause)
  • I am here to get details about the house that is falsely registered in my name. (adjective clause)
  • I am here to get details about the house falsely registered in my name. (reduced adjective clause)

Case 3: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + prepositional phrase

An adjective clause with such a structure is changed into a reduced adjective phrase by removing the relative pronoun and the linking verb (to be).

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + prepositional phrase
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + prepositional phrase

Examples:

  • Could you help me talk to the boy who is from Nepal?
  • Could you help me talk to the boy from Nepal? (reduced adjective clause)
  • Do you have any book that is about the ancient education system of India?
  • Do you have any book about the ancient education system of India? (reduced adjective clause)
  • The person who is behind Jacob in a black shirt helped me reach office on time.
  • The person behind Jacob in a black shirt helped me reach office on time. (reduced adjective clause)

NOTE: it’s always your choice whether you want to reduce an adjective clause to a prepositional phrase or not. Sometimes, at least to me, they look better without being reduced.

  • The house that is across the main street is believed to be haunted.
  • The house across the main street is believed to be haunted.
  • Everyone who is in the management are talking about the workers who are under your leadership.
  • Everyone in the management are talking about the workers under your leadership.
  • The Taj Mahal, which is over 300 years old, is in Agra.
  • The Taj Mahal, over 300 years old, is in Agra.

Case 4: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + an adjective (one word)

An adjective clause with such a structure is changed into a reduced adjective phrase by removing the relative pronoun and the linking verb (to be) and placing the adjective before the noun modified..

  • NOUN+ relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + adjective
  • adjective + NOUN + relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be)

Examples:

  • A person who is weak can’t do this job.
  • A weak person can’t do this job. (reduced adjective clause)
  • It’s almost impossible to find a person who is perfect.
  • It’s almost impossible to find a perfect person. (reduced adjective clause)

Case 5: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + an adjective phrase

An adjective clause with such a structure is changed into a reduced adjective phrase by removing the relative pronoun and the linking verb (to be).

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + adjective phrase
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + adjective phrase

Examples:

  • He is not the person who is happy for you.
  • He is not the person happy for you. (reduced adjective clause)
  • You can’t find a person who is better than me at this.
  • You can’t find a person better than me at this. (reduced adjective clause)

Case 6: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + to be verb (is/am/are/was/were) + noun phrase

An adjective clause with such a structure is changed into a reduced adjective phrase by removing the relative pronoun and the linking verb (to be).

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + noun phrase
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + is/am/are/was/were (to be) + noun phrase

Examples:

  • Monu, who is my best friend, loves playing games.
  • Monu, my best friend, loves playing games. (reduced adjective clause)
  • I can’t hide anything from Riya, who is the love of my life.
  • I can’t hide anything from Riya, the love of my life. (reduced adjective clause)

NOTE: a noun phrase that sits next to another noun and renames it is called an appositive phrase.


Case 7: When the adjective clause has the following structure:

Relative pronoun (subject of the clause) + V1/V2 + object/modifier (optional)

An adjective clause with such a structure is reduced by dropping the relative pronoun and changing the verb from its base form to a present participle.

  • Adjective clause: relative pronoun + V1 + object/modifier
  • Reduced adjective clause: relative pronoun + V1 + object/modifier

Examples:

  • Is the guy who helps you in coding coming to the party?
  • Is the guy helping you in coding coming to the party? (reduced adjective clause)
  • All the people who work in the HR department need to bring their identity cards tomorrow.
  • All the people working in the HR department need to bring their identity cards tomorrow. (reduced adjective clause)
  • Ashish, who teaches at an NGO, loves the complexity of the English language.
  • Ashish, teaching at an NGO, loves the complexity of the English language. (reduced adjective clause)
  • The guy who insulted you yesterday works here.
  • The guy insulting you yesterday works here. (reduced adjective clause)

When an adjective can’t be reduced!

Not all the adjective clauses can be reduced to an adjective phrase or an adjective.

CASE 1: an adjective clause can’t be reduced when the relative pronoun is followed by its subject.

  • Do you know the girl whom I was talking to in your party?
  • whom = relative pronoun
  • I = subject of the adjective clause
  • was = helping verb (to be)
  • talking = present participle

We can’t reduce this adjective clause.

More examples:

  • The man whose bike you are using is my neighbor.
  • I can’t betray a person whom I love.

CASE 2: When adjective clauses start with the following relative pronouns and adverbs: whom, whose, where, why, and when.

  • Everyone wants to see whom you got married with.
  • Janial, whose family died in a car accident, is an amazing teacher.
  • I know a place where he can hide.
  • The reason why he is with you is because you have a lot of money.
  • The time when I am done is not coming any soon.

We can’t reduce these adjective clauses as they start with the above-mentioned relative pronouns and adverbs, and they have a subject of the adjective clause after them.


What can an adjective clause get reduced to?

An adjective clause can get reduced to the following things:

  1. Adjective (one word)
  2. Adjective phrase
  3. Present participle phrase
  4. Past participle phrase
  5. Prepositional phrase
  6. Absolute phrase

Let’s understand them separately.

1. Reducing an adjective clause to an adjective

When an adjective clause is reduced to an adjective (one word), the adjective is usually placed before the noun it modifies.

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. Place the adjective used in the adjective clause before the noun/pronoun it modifies.

Examples:

  • A person who is positive never gives up.
  • A positive person never gives up.
  • The boy who was disabled won the match.
  • The disabled boy won the match.
  • It can easily be done by any man who is smart.
  • It can easily be done by any smart man.

NOTE: If the adjective clause has anything after the adjective, we can’t reduce it to an adjective (one word). It will be an adjective phrase (adjective + modifier), and we won’t be able to place it before the noun modified either.


2. Reducing an adjective clause to an adjective phrase

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. keep the adjective and the modifier (adjective phrase) placed after the noun/pronoun modified.

Examples:

  • Anyone who is unhappy with their lives can talk to Dr. Seema about their problems.
  • Anyone unhappy with their lives can talk to Dr. Seema about their problems.
  • We can’t deal with a person who is as crazy as you.
  • We can’t deal with a person as crazy as you.
  • Their products, which are highly expensive and overrated, are being sold all over the country.
  • Their products, highly expensive and overrated, are being sold all over the country.

3. Reducing an adjective clause to a present participle phrase

We can reduce an adjective clause to a present participle phrase. But for that to happen, the adjective clause must have a present participle after the ‘to be form of verb.’

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. keep the present participle and the object/modifier (present participle phrase) placed after the noun/pronoun modified.

Examples:

  • The train that is standing at the platform no 6 is going to Agra.
  • The train standing at the platform no 6 is going to Agra.
  • People who are telling you to quit haven’t done anything in their lives.
  • People telling you to quit haven’t done anything in their lives.
  • Why don’t you do something for the people who are sitting idle without a job.
  • Why don’t you do something for the people sitting idle without a job.


4. Reducing an adjective clause to a past participle phrase

We can also reduce an adjective clause to a past participle phrase. But for that to happen, the adjective clause must have a past participle after the ‘to be form of verb.’

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. keep the past participle and the object/modifier (past participle phrase) placed after the noun/pronoun modified.

Examples:

  • The items that are sent from China are quite cheap.
  • The items sent from China are quite cheap.
  • Do you still have the chess that was gifted to you on your 10th birthday?
  • Do you still have the chess gifted to you on your 10th birthday?
  • The boys who are selected from the Kunari village have been placed in good companies.
  • The boys selected from the Kunari village have been placed in good companies.


5. Reducing an adjective clause to a prepositional phrase

We can reduce an adjective clause to a prepositional phrase when the adjective clause has a prepositional phrase after the ‘to be form of verb.’

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. keep the prepositional phrase placed after the noun/pronoun modified.

Examples:

  • Please bring your friend who is from China.
  • Please bring your friend from China.
  • I don’t have any authority to order the people who are under his management.
  • I don’t have any authority to order the people under his management.
  • The best thing that is about you is your positive attitude.
  • The best thing about you is your positive attitude.


6. Reducing an adjective clause to an appositive phrase

We can reduce an adjective clause to an appositive phrase when the adjective clause has a noun phrase after the ‘to be form of verb.’

Process:

  1. Remove the relative pronoun.
  2. Remove the ‘to be’ verb.
  3. keep the noun phrase placed after the noun/pronoun modified.

NOTE: an appositive phrase is a noun phrase that renames another noun.

Examples:

  • Virat Kohli, who is the best batsman in the world, does a lot of charity.
  • Virat Kohli, the best batsman in the world, does a lot of charity.
  • I am excited to meet Sam, who is an MMA fighter.
  • I am excited to meet Sam, an MMA fighter.
  • The Taj Mahal, which is a beautiful monument, is in Agra.
  • The Taj Mahal, a beautiful monument, is in Agra.

Why do we reduce an adjective clause?

We use reduced adjective clauses as they remove the extra information from an adjective clause and make it look more precise.

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6 thoughts on “Reduced adjective clauses (rules and examples)”

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