A person should not think that happiness is the total pleasure enjoyed.

In this sentence, "enjoyed" comes after the subject it describes, even though it is not a phrase or clause. I thought only the phrase or clause could come after the subject it describes or modifies, or at least that is what the websites I visited say. Why isn't it "enjoyed pleasure"and sounds so natural?

  • It's the remains of a deceased relative clause: the total pleasure (which is) enjoyed (by Indef). The parenthesized materials get deleted by whiz-deletion and Indefinite Passive Agent deletion, leaving only enjoyed behind. Aug 10, 2015 at 22:44
  • 2
    John Lawler is a greater authority on deceased relatives than Columbo. Aug 10, 2015 at 23:05
  • I think your use of the term subject is not correct. "pleasure" is no subject.
    – rogermue
    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:55
  • It sounds weird, because it's redundant. Pleasure isn't enjoyed, it's experienced or had. As for the positioning, John Lawler is of course correct about how it came about. This is an example of a postnominal modifier; not at all uncommon in English. "The items received were not worth the money spent." Oct 25, 2015 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


"Enjoyed" is an adjective (pp). Adjectives are used attributively (good boy), predicatively (The boy is good) and postpositively after noun or pronoun(pleasure enjoyed).

This postpositve use is not that common as are the other two. It is mostly used in certain fixed expressions (devil incarnate), after pronoun(nothing special), to change meaning (responsible men<> men responsible),after superlative attributive adjective (the nearest shop available) and after the noun as a part of reduced relative clause(pleasure enjoyed).

In the above example "enjoyed" can be used attributively. But "enjoyed" gains in intensity and force and establishes a direct relationship with "happiness", which the attributive use couldn't lend.

  • May I be favoured with the reason why it is down voted. Feb 23, 2016 at 17:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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