I saw someone explained that participal adjectives have the same function as relative clauses. If that is correct, what is the difference between them?

for examples,

  1. a bill requiring approval of the committee
  2. a bill that requires approval of the committee

1 is a participal adjective, 2 is a relative clause.

Do those sentence have the same meaning?

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    Yes, they do have the same meaning, and in general this is true when there is a participle corresponding to a relative clause, as here. There's no particular reason to call them participial "adjectives", though; they're just straightforward participial verb phrases. – John Lawler Nov 17 '17 at 4:13
  • @JohnLawler Thank you. So can I think there's not even a slight difference? – Stud Nov 17 '17 at 4:31
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    1. and 2. are similar semantically. The difference lies in the structure of the subordinate clauses. They both modify "bill", but they belong to different clause types. In 1. "requiring approval of the committee" is a gerund-participial clause (not a participial adjective!), while in 2. it's a relative clause. – BillJ Nov 17 '17 at 7:05
  • @BillJ I thought that is a participal adjective. I didn't know that is a gerund- participal clause. Thank you BillJ! – Stud Nov 17 '17 at 8:15
  • The difference is this: Both can be spoken but no decent editor would allow "that [third-person verb]" for no reason when "verb+ing" can be used. – Lambie Sep 16 '18 at 14:51

The two are identical in meaning; the difference is solely stylistic, though for me, the participial construction makes for tighter prose. The phrase "requiring the approval of the committee" is, however, neither a clause nor a gerund-participle, a term the Cambridge Grammar employs to remind us all that English doesn't really have a gerund, but still requires that the verb form be used as a noun.

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A full relative clause has a tense while "requiring" in "requiring approval" (reduced clause/participial-gerund clause or whatever you call it) is a non-finite.

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