As shown above, you can use this sentence.

When needed, you can have this candy.

You did more than necessary.

Those sentences have one thing in common. After word as, when, and than, they do not have subject. And it sounds perfectly normal. Can someone explain me why? Thank you.

  • Hmmm, I’d say the subject of all three is you
    – Jim
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:11
  • You should read : As it is shown above / When it is needed / more than is/was necessary. The auxiliary and its subject (the impersonal pronoun "it") are just omitted.
    – Graffito
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:14
  • What is auxiliary? And why is it not more than it is/was necessary? Can you explain?
    – haha
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:19
  • And also, what rule allows you to omit these auxiliary and its subject?
    – haha
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:27
  • The three most common auxiliary verbs (or helping verbs) are "be", "do" and "have". In this case, the auxiliary verb is "is". In the third sentence, I left the choice open between "is" and "was". The action being done in the past ("You did"), we don't know if the necessary things to be done were either specific to that precise moment or if it is something general that always need to be done in such circumstances. - I am not sure that using the present (i.e. "is") can be accepted -.
    – Graffito
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:37

The commas are a good initial indicator that those are distinct modifying phrases attached to subject-predicate pairs in the first two cases.

However, let's start with the third example, which is a little bit different:

You did more than necessary.

That can be broken down into

You      did              more than necessary.
subject  transitive verb  object

We can pick apart more than necessary more than is necessary, but I think that's the essence of that one.

Let's take a look at the others.

As shown above, you can use this sentence.

This is really the sentence

You can use this sentence.

with a modifier hanging off the front of it.

You might ask what "as shown above" is modifying, and it's not immediately obvious. Going by process of elimination, however, you can see fairly quickly that You are not "as shown above", and this sentence is not "as shown above" -- those don't make much sense. "As shown above" is an adverbial phrase modifying the compound verb "can use".

Similarly, your second example is just a case of "When needed" modifying "can have".


In the first two sentences, the order is just switched around.

In each of your sentences the subject is


You can use this sentence as shown above


You can have this candy when needed.

Necessary is also a noun

  • I mean why it is not "as it is shown above" and just "as shown above" when no words in the first clause "you can use this sentence" repeat in second clause.
    – haha
    Aug 12 '15 at 0:24
  • @haha - This clarification of your question is helpful! You are right, "as shown above" is a shortened version of "as it is shown above." Sorry, I don't know a name for this. The reason the omission is possible is that the omitted words aren't needed to convey the intended idea. Aug 12 '15 at 4:54

The reason is that the parts that you emphasised in italics are not classified as sentences. In English the usual minimum requirement for a sentence is that it,

(a) Starts with a capital letter

(b) Has a subject

(c) Has a verb

(d) Ends with a full stop (period)

Here is a sentence, "Dogs bark." It has all of the above requirements.

Your examples are all subordinate clauses.

subordinate clause


a clause, typically introduced by a conjunction, that forms part of and is dependent on a main clause (e.g. ‘when it rang’ in ‘she answered the phone when it rang’).

Google Dictionary

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