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Reduce Clauses to Phrases - Level III

Reduce Clauses to Phrases

Notes

In order to write concise sentences, use only the words necessary to achieve meaning and coherence. Unnecessary words should be eliminated. One way to achieve this is to reduce adjective, adverb and noun clauses to phrases when a phrase can do the work of a clause. An clause is a group of related words containing a subject and a verb which modifies a noun. A phrase is a group of related words that does not contain a subject or a verb.

Adjective Clause Reduction
Adjective clauses that have ‘who’, ‘which’, or ‘that’ as subjects can be reduced to phrases by omitting the subject pronouns and the ‘be’ form of the auxiliary verb. Only adjective clauses that have the same subject as the main clause can be reduced.

Example: The boy who is riding his bicycle is Michael. (‘Who’ is subject of the adjective clause and ‘is’ is a form of the verb ‘be’. Therefore, this clause can be reduced.)

Reduction: The boy riding his bicycle is Michael. (‘Who is’ has been eliminated; ‘riding his bicycle’ is an adjective phrase modifying ‘boy’. The meaning of the two sentences remains the same.)

Adjective clauses that do not contain a form of the verb ‘be’ may sometimes omit the subject pronoun and change the verb to its ‘ing’ form.

Example: English has an alphabet that consists of 26 letters. (‘That’ is subject of the adjective clause ‘that consists of 26 letters’.)
Reduction: English has an alphabet consisting of 26 letters. (‘That’ has been eliminated and ‘consist’ has been changed to ‘consisting’. ‘Consisting of 26 letters’ is an adjective phrase modifying ‘English’. The meaning of the two sentences remains the same.)

Adverb Clause Reduction
Adverb clauses are reduced in the same way as adjective clauses. Omit the subject pronouns and the ‘be’ form of the verb (In ‘was vacationing’, the word ‘was’ is a form of the verb ‘be’.)

If there is no ‘be’ form of the verb, omit the subject and change the verb to the ‘ing’ form. Only adverb clauses having the same subject as the main clause can be reduced to phrases. The subordinating conjunction introducing the adverb clause may also be eliminated if the meaning of the sentence is not changed.
Example: While I was vacationing in Hawaii, I met an old friend. (‘I’ is the pronoun subject of both the adjective clause and the main clause. ‘Was’ is a form of the verb ‘be’. Therefore, the adjective clause ‘While I was vacationing in Hawaii’, can be reduced to the phrase ‘While vacationing in Hawaii’.)
Reduction: Vacationing in Hawaii, I met an old friend. (The subordinating conjunction ‘while’ may also be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence.)

Example: While he drove home from work, John fell asleep. (To reduce the clause ‘While he drove home from work’ to a phrase, omit the pronoun subject ‘he’ and change the verb ‘drove’ to ‘driving.)

Reduction: John fell asleep driving home from work. (The subordinating conjunction ‘while’ may also be eliminated without changing the meaning of the sentence.)

Noun Clause Reduction
a. Noun clauses may be reduced by omitting the subordinating conjunction ‘that’. The meaning of the sentence must remain unchanged.

Example: They admit that they have problems at home. (The subordinate noun clause may be reduced to a phrase by eliminating the subordinating conjunction ‘that they’.
Reduction: They admit having problems at home.

Assignment

Reduce the dependent clauses to phrases by eliminating words and changing verbs. Enter the words eliminated and the changed verbs in the chart.

1. Knowledgeable consumers who are looking for bargains often shop at outlet stores.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

2. The ideas which are presented in the essay are controversial.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

3. While we were hiking in the wilderness, we encountered a mountain lion.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

4. Because it was looking for food, the black bear rummaged in our garbage can.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

5. Those who wish to travel with us must be ready to leave on short notice.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

6. As he was returning from the beach, Alex met an old friend.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

7. While he was walking on the beach, Alex found many interesting shells.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

8. Mr. Brown, who is responsible for public relations, is an employee of the company.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

9. The billboard, which is on the edge of town, lists the population statistics

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

10. The networks, which broadcast news 24 hours a day, are competing for viewers.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

11. Employees who work for the company are not responsible for paying their medical health premiums.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

12. When he was checking out the car, the technician noticed a defect in the electrical system.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

13. While we were waiting for the rain to stop, Janet and I read the newspaper.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

14. The factors, which contribute to poor health, include: low economic status, poor diet and lack of exercise.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

15. Since she moved to the city, Kim has taken on several interesting and challenging jobs.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

16. Reference books that contain extensive footnotes are most helpful when I am researching a topic.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

17. Everyone knows that winters are extremely cold at the North and South Poles.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

18. When you write a letter of commendation for an employee, back up your statements with examples.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

19. You could be mistaken about the assessment which you wrote on Bill.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

20. Kevin went to the movies after he had finished his assignment.

Eliminate these words Changes made to verbs

Answer Key

Reduce Clauses to Phrases

1. Knowledgeable consumers who are looking for bargains often shop at outlet stores.

Answer – who are – eliminate

2. The ideas which are presented in the essay are controversial.

Answer –  which are – eliminate

3. While we were hiking in the wilderness, we encountered a mountain lion.

Answer –    While we were – eliminate

4. Because it was looking for food, the black bear rummaged in our garbage can.

Answer – Because it was – eliminate

5. Those who wish to travel with us must be ready to leave on short notice.

Answer –     who – eliminate

Answer – wishing – change verb

6. As he was returning from the beach Alex met an old friend.

Answer – As he was – eliminate

7. While he was walking on the beach Alex found many interesting shells.

Answer –     While he was – eliminate

8. Mr. Brown, who is responsible for public relations, is an employee of the company.

Answer –  who is – eliminate words

9. The billboard, which is on the edge of town, lists the population statistics

Answer –    which is – eliminate words

10. The networks, which broadcast news 24 hours a day, are competing for viewers.

Answer – which – eliminate words

Answer – broadcasting – change verb

11. Employees who work for the company are not responsible for paying their medical health premiums.

Answer – who – eliminate words

Answer – work – change verb

12. When he was checking out the car, the technician noticed a defect in the electrical system.

Answer –    When he was – eliminate words

13. While we were waiting for the rain to stop, Janet and I read the newspaper.

Answer – While we were – eliminate words

14. The factors, which contribute to poor health, include: low economic status, poor diet and lack of exercise.

Answer –    which – eliminate words

Answer – contributing – change verb

15. Since she moved to the city Kim has taken on several interesting and challenging jobs.

Answer – Since we – eliminate words

Answer – moving – change verb

16. Reference books that contain extensive footnotes are most helpful when I am researching a topic.

Answer –     that – eliminate words

Answer – containing – change verb

17. Everyone knows that winters are extremely cold at the North and South Poles.

Answer –  that – eliminate words

18. When you write a letter of commendation for an employee, back up your statements with examples.

Answer – you – eliminate words

Answer – writing – change verb

19. You could be mistaken about the assessment which you wrote on Bill.

Answer –    which – eliminate words

20. Kevin went to the movies after he had finished his assignment.

Answer –     he had – eliminate words

Answer – finishing – change verb