Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When I write something like this:

I am a man that is doing these things.

Is it correct to shorten it like this?

I am a man doing these things.

And does it require commas?

share|improve this question
1  
In your first sentence, who is would sound better than that is. I don't know why; you can grammatically use that to refer to people. –  Peter Shor Dec 27 '11 at 11:58
1  
Reserving "who" as a definite article for people is a convention followed by careful writers. Definitely a matter of usage - oft observed in the breach. –  The Raven Dec 27 '11 at 12:16
1  
Both are grammatical, and neither requires commas, but both are unlikely sentences. It's almost impossible to comment further without knowing the context. –  Barrie England Dec 27 '11 at 16:36
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

'Who is doing these things?'
'I am the man who is doing these things'

'Who is doing these things?'
'I am the man doing these things'

Depending on the context, we can omit the 'that is'/'who is'. Sometimes this will help to shift the focus/emphasis in the sentence.

share|improve this answer
add comment

They are both grammatical sentences, but the first one sounds a bit awkward. I'd use the second one, which is more natural. No commas are required.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Both sentences are defining (restrictive) relative clauses, so you definitely shouldn't use commas.

The second sentence is a reduced relative clause, so just google 'reduced relative clause' to find out more.

However - "I am a man who/that..."is a bit unnatural - I notice that Kris changed a to the, which sounds much better. The relative clause is defining who you are - you are the man, not just any man.

share|improve this answer
    
You can say: "I am a man of honour" or "I am a man who has honour." Although the first sentence sounds more natural, they are both grammatical. Using "the" here would change the meaning. –  Irene Dec 27 '11 at 18:12
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.