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Is there a general rule that allows to replace "noun + that + verb" with "noun + ing-form of verb"?

Consider this sentence:

Metal physical properties are key traits that determine the quality of products.

Can this be written as:

Metal physical properties are key traits determining the quality of products.

The second sentence already has a main verb and key traits is it an object? I am confused.

I would like to know in general when can "that" be omitted? If this question has already been asked I can't find it through the search.

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[1] Metal physical properties are key traits [that determine the quality of products].

[2] Metal physical properties are key traits [determining the quality of products].

It's not a matter of omitting "that" in your second example. Though the bracketed clauses in [1] and [2] are semantically similar, they belong to different categories, the former a relative clause, the latter an ing participial clause.

In [2] "key traits determining the quality of products" is a noun phrase functioning not as object but as predicative complement of "be". The head word is "traits" and the participial clause is its modifier.

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  • Thank you for the clarification. So what the general rule is that "that" can be omitted in a participial clause? I never heard about participial clause I will have to read up on it. Nov 29, 2021 at 10:39
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    "That" does not introduce non-finite clauses such as participial ones, so the question of when "that" can be omitted in such clauses does not arise.
    – BillJ
    Nov 29, 2021 at 16:11
  • Yes. That optionally introduces tensed complement clauses, like I think (that) he did it. Such clauses always have a tensed verb. Participial clauses, on the other hand, don't have tensed verbs -- participles aren't tensed. Nov 29, 2021 at 16:26

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