I wrote down the following sentence. But I think it's quite awkward. Besides, Google tells me that the clause which I don't find him to be occurs only twice across the internet.

He'll do this if he's smart, which I don't find him to be.

I was trying to combine two thoughts into a single sentence.

I don't find him to be smart

He'll do this if he's smart.

Is there an alternate way to articulate the thoughts in a single sentence that's more elegant?

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    "He'll do this if he's smart...which he's not!" - this sounds normal to me. – Kristina Lopez Sep 4 '14 at 21:13
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    Your sentences seem contradictory. Since he's not smart, he won't do it. Unless you are not sure. – bib Sep 4 '14 at 21:14
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    ... Which means it's not sensible to combine them in a regular way. Kristina's abrupt contrast works, as a slick comment. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 4 '14 at 21:17
  • Sorry, I should have added that my comment was terse and "slick" as Edwin said, but not nice nor polite. – Kristina Lopez Sep 4 '14 at 22:50

Your original sentence doesn't sound awkward or clumsy to me. The relative clause “which I don't find/consider him (to be)” is perfectly normal and common.

It is somewhat formal in register, but that's not because of the relative clause-ness of it—the construction find/consider X to be Y is just a bit above normal, colloquial speech in register. The more register-neutral construction would be think that X is Y.

A more natural phrasing (by which I mean a phrasing that fits the colloquialness of the subject matter by being very natural in everyday, informal speech) would thus be:

He’ll do this if he’s smart… which I don't think he is.

  • Would the downvoter care to explain their downvote? I’ll be happy to improve upon the answer if I can. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 5 '14 at 15:54

''If he had any sense, he would do this.''

Leave your opinion of the subjects smartness implied. It works even better in the past tense; ''If he had any sense, he would have done this.''


It sounds like what you mean is

If he were smart, he would do this, but I fear he is not.


If he were smart, which I fear he is not, he would do this.


I don't understand why you want to use find instead of think or believe.

If you're stressing your finding, you shouldn't put it in a non-restrictive relative clause.
Relative clauses of any kind are for backgrounded presupposed material, not important matters.

Think or believe -- besides meaning the same thing -- have the advantage that they can both take
tensed complement clauses, with or without that -- in this case, "without that" is what we want.

Complement clauses are just regular sentences, just like the tensed clause if he's smart.
Conjunction reduction always works better with a parallel construction

Viz (as @Janus has pointed out - referential indices and zero trace supplied below)

  • He'll do this if he's smartᵢ, whichᵢ I don't think/believe he is ᵢ.
  • I don't get the non-restrictive comment. Smart seems to be self contained, it's not like it's a special kind of smart: He seems to be smart which is bright, not smart which is sarcastic or the like - if you see what I mean. Your last example seems to be a non-restrictive clause too... – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 4 '14 at 22:59
  • The OQ had a non-restrictive relative clause ", which I don't find him to be". I modified it to a different non-restrictive relative clause. I don't believe that's what Huddleston and Pullum call them, but I forget what they use. Most of their terminological innovations have gone unremarked and unused in the literature. If you mean the second sentence, you shouldn't put it in a relative clause at all, of any sort, if you want to stress it. But certainly this applies to non-restrictive relatives. – John Lawler Sep 4 '14 at 23:03
  • Hmm, imo I've just seen the police, who say they've arrested your wife. It seems to me that however much you want to stress the relative clause there it can't be restrictive (assuming you don't want to differentiate a specific proportion of the police who've said that they've arrested your wife!). – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 4 '14 at 23:53
  • That's effectively the same as and they say, but not as prominent; it pretends to be about the police, while hiding the bad news in a subordinate clause instead of appending another assertion. – John Lawler Sep 5 '14 at 0:05
  • Yeah, I don't disagree! – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 5 '14 at 0:10

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