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I read a vocabulary book . There is a sentence which makes me confused. " The government had passed a bill outlawing smoking while driving" . I wonder if why the author use "outlawing" here but not outlawed or outlaw. Can you explain this grammar structure for me. I am very bad at grammar 😭😭😭

  • "Outlawing" is the present participle of the verb "outlaw". The clause "outlawing smoking while driving" modifies "bill". "Smoking" is gerund and the direct object of "outlawing". – Andreas Blass Aug 2 '17 at 4:19
  • They could as easily have written, “The government had passed a bill that outlawed smoking while driving.” or one that said, “The government had passed a bill to outlaw smoking while driving.” or one that says, “The government had passed a bill that outlaws smoking while driving.” but they chose to use “outlawing” maybe they thought it sounded better that way. – Jim Aug 2 '17 at 4:23
  • I still find it really hard to understand why they use" outlawing "😭😭😭 why ????😭😭😭 – Nhi Hoang Aug 2 '17 at 4:29
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The sentence "The government had passed a bill outlawing smoking while driving" contains an example of a reduced relative clause or non-finite relative clause. It is reduced from:

The government had passed a bill that outlaws smoking while driving.

and contains the non-finite verb outlawing (present participle).

This is a common English sentence pattern. Here are some more authentic examples:

I lost my phone containing private information ... . (that contains)

The camera followed the car driving around for a little bit. (that was driving)

Nirenberg is currently collaborating on a book exploring the relative claims of different forms of knowledge. (that explores)

Reduced or non-finite relative clauses (i.e. clauses post-modifying noun phrases) can also be formed with the past participle:

Gundry has denied the fact stated in the report. (that was stated)

We are actors in a play written by others (that was written)

There's a good, brief explanation of reduced relative clauses on TESOL-direct.

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