I want to describe my business and want to refer to it in a sentence.

I am trying to say:

"In 2015 we established a business (that is) named X".

Intuitively, the "that is" part is redundant, and makes the sentence more cumbersome. But I cannot think of a reason why we should be able to drop the verb.

Is the version without the "that is" part grammatically correct? How can it be explained?

  • 1
    Without that is the phrase named X is simply adjectival. And if it's not correct, someone should have told Johnny Cash when we wrote A boy named Sue.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 13:05
  • 1
    You mean Shel Silverstein.
    – Yotam Ofek
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 13:16
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    You are not dropping the verb. The verb is "established". Try to drop that one, and you will get into serious trouble indeed. But what you are dropping here is just a verb somewhere. Not quite sure what you're expecting to hear as an answer to "How can it be explained?". How can it be explained that you can drop "In 2015"? How can it be explained that you can drop "a business named"? You can always drop all kinds of things. And you probably should. In 2015 you founded X. The reader is smart enough to figure out that it must be a business and not a piano or a dog.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


There is a syntactic rule, called Whiz-Deletion, which is available in certain relative clauses.

Specifically, it can apply to clauses with the following properties:

  1. the relative pronoun (which, who, that) must be the subject of the relative clause
  2. the relative clause must contain a form of the auxiliary be immediately following the subject

Any relative clause that meets these criteria may, optionally (that means the speaker gets to decide, for any reason at all) delete both the relative pronoun and the auxiliary be form, as a unit. Because, as you say, they're redundant, which means predictable and carrying no information.

The funny name comes from the fact that the relative pronoun is usually a wh-word, and the auxiliary is usually is, so whiz deletion is just Wh-is deletion. The rule relates sentences like the first sentence in this answer with sentences like

  • There is a syntactic rule, called Whiz-Deletion, available in certain relative clauses.

Can I ask why you are phrasing it in such a way?

The completed action "named" is implied and not something that has to be spelled out once you share the name of the business--unless, of course, the action of naming it is something you need to highlight.


Consider revising the sentence and order of ideas.

"In 2015 we established (add name here), a business that..."

"In 2015 we established (add name here)."

  • 1
    I ended up revising the whole sentence, but I found this question interesting nonetheless. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 11:10

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