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What is the part of speech of 'regarded' in the following?

"a quality of beauty and intensity of emotion regarded as characteristic of poems" (NOAD)

Why isn't it "... [which is] regarded ..."?

And in another case:

"a small lizard with wide feet, found especially in warm countries" (CALD)

And also:

"Words used to describe writing or speech style" (Macmillan)

In all these examples, why shouldn't the verbs be in their passive form (e.g. which is found, words that are used)?

I am a ESL learner and I am very confused by these usages!

12

All of these participial usages are examples, as you suggested, of a syntactic rule that deletes a subject relative pronoun and an auxiliary be from a relative clause.

The rule is called Whiz-Deletion. The name is a mnemonic.
The Wh- part of Whiz-Deletion comes from the fact that relative pronouns start with wh-.
The -iz part of Whiz-Deletion comes from the fact that the most common form of be is is.
The "Deletion" part of Whiz-Deletion means that these are the parts that are deleted.

Whiz-Deletion is the source of virtually all post-nominal adjectival phrases, like

  • the man in the Moon <== the man who is/was in the Moon
  • a boy eleven years old <== a boy who is/was eleven years old
  • a policeman standing on the corner <== a policeman who is/was standing on the corner
  • a locket found in his possession <== a locket which was found in his possession

Since the purpose of an auxiliary be is to carry the tense, when the be gets deleted, so does the tense; these are tenseless, or "non-finite" -- tensed clauses are "finite". That's why I used "is/was" in the examples above -- there's no way to tell which it should be, except in the last example.

4

It is, brace yourself, a past-participial verbal. It's a verb phase that functions as an adjective. It's equivalent to the phrase that would be made by adding "which is" or "that is", but it's not an abbreviation.

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