A Song with Reduced Relative Clauses: #7

*There are a few ways in which we can reduce Relative Clauses. For now, I’m going to look at the Reduced Relative Clauses (bold print) in the song “Rolling in the Deep”  by Adele (subtitles in English and Spanish). Can you work out which words have been omitted?

Song: ROLLING IN THE DEEP

There’s a fire starting in my heart/
Reaching a fever pitch;ADELE

It’s bringing me out (of) the dark.
Finally, I can see you crystal clear;  

Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare.
See how I leave with every piece of you.
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.

There’s a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch
And it’s bringing me out (of) the dark.

Relative clauses ‘relate’ (refer) to nouns and pronouns. Think of them as long adjectives. In this post, I am looking at Reduced Relative Clauses. For basic information on Relative Clauses and Relative Pronouns, I recommend that you first read my earlier posts.

Have you worked out that the omitted words are which is (or that is):

There’s a fire which is starting in my heart

(There’s a fire) which is reaching a fever pitch

We can delete (or leave out) the Relative Pronoun  with the BE verb  when the main verb in the Relative Clause is Continuous (Progressive): … is starting… / … is reaching… .

It doesn’t matter which tense the continuous verb is. The finite verb in the Independent Clause often indicates the tense. The Independent Clause in this song is: There is a fire. Here are some more examples:

  • The girl is gorgeous as well as talented.
  • The girl who is singing the song is gorgeous as well as talented.
  • > The girl singing the song is gorgeous as well as talented.
  •                          ↑        ↑        ↑
  •              Reduced Relative Clause
  • The people were really enjoying themselves.
  • The people who were singing along with Adele at the concert were really enjoying themselves.
  • > The people singing along with Adele at the concert were really enjoying themselves.                            ↑               ↑              
  •                                             Reduced Relative Clause

Sometimes, it’s the meaning conveyed in the Reduced Relative Clause that indicates the tense. In the following example, ‘since 2008’, indicates that the BE verb in the present perfect tense has been omitted.

  • The singer is only 26 years old.
  • The singer, who has been writing music since 2008, is only 26 years old.
  • > The singer, writing music since 2008, is only 26 years old.
  •                                   ↑              ↑              ↑
  •                              Reduced Relative Clause

* I will be writing more posts on Reduced Relative Clauses. For now, listen to Adele singing ROLLING IN THE DEEP.  There are only two Reduced Relative Clauses, so you should be able to remember them! However, for those of you who want more information and practice exercises now, click here.

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This entry was posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Songs, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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