Ling 131: Language & Style
|Grammar made easy - the basic principles|
|Linking, listing and nesting clauses|
|Linking, listing & nesting checksheet|
|Complex SPOCA self test|
|Topic 7 'tool' summary|
More on nesting
Task B - Our answer
Sentences 2 and 3 have nested clauses and they both function as modifiers inside a noun phrase. That is, they modify the headword of the NP and they can be substituted for by a simpler, non-clausal modifier without changing the overall structure of the sentence, or of the phrase they are nested inside.
Sentence 1 is a simple sentence:
Here the subject NP has professor as its headword, with the determiner 'the' and the adjective 'silly' premodifying it, and the prepositional phrase 'with the bow tie' postmodifying it.
Here the subject NP contains a clause ('who is wearing a bow tie', which has the SPOCA structure SPO) which acts as a postmodifier to the headword. It substitutes for 'with the bow tie' in sentence 1.
Here the subject NP contains a clause ('bow tie wearing', which has the SPOCA structure OP) which acts as a premodifier to the headword. It substitutes for 'little' in sentence 1.
In traditional grammars, these sorts of clauses were often called adjectival clauses, because they were said to act 'like adjectives'. But modern grammarians usually call them Relative Clauses (RCls) because they can easily be substituted for by non-adjective modifiers as well as adjectives(compare 1 and 2 above), and they relate to the headword. The most common place for relative clauses to appear inside noun phrases is after the headword, where prepositional phrases are much more common than adjectives (see sentence 1 above).
Postmodifying relative clauses often begin with a relative pronoun ('who', 'which', 'that'), but they can also have no relative pronoun at all (note that in 2 above you could omit 'who is' and still have a perfectly normal English sentence in grammatical terms.