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    #1

    structure....

    s1. Look at the vase on the table which has red roses in it.

    s2. Look at the vase on the table which is in the corner of the room.

    I made two sentences above because I couldn't find any one that fits in this case.
    I think s1 and s2 each have two different structures.
    In s1, two noun modifiers('on the table' and 'which has red roses in it') modify the noun 'vase'.
    In s2, while adjective clause('which is in the corner of the room') modifies the noun 'table', noun modifier('on the table') modifies the noun 'vase'.
    If this is true, should
    each structure be determined by its own context?
    Is there any possibility of being interpreted by the other structure?

    Thanks in advance.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: structure....

    In sentence 1 the table has red roses in it, an unlikely scenario. In sentence 2 the table is in the corner of the room.

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    #3

    Re: structure....

    How about this one?
    Do two noun modifiers modify the noun 'the man'?

    Look at the man on the podium who is adjusting his necktie.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: structure....

    Many of the misplaced modifier sentences (like the table with roses) are actually easy to understand in real life, even though they are not grammatically correct.
    Look at the man (who is) adjusting his necktie on the podium.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: structure....

    Where there is a misplaced modifier, the listener or reader will normally get the intended meaning- we normally go for the more obvious or logical meaning. In fact, most people won't even notice them. If you spot one in your writing, fix it, but there's no need to lose any sleep over them.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: structure....

    With misplaced modifiers, the solution is rearranging the sentence. Barb's solution in post #4 is a good one.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: structure....

    Sometimes they do make a funny sentence though.
    My little brother saw the car thief riding his tricycle.
    I read about Chuck Jaeger breaking the sound barrier in the library.
    Rotting in the basement, George had forgotten about the crate of oranges.

    In each case, the intended meaning is clear, but you can giggle thinking about the thief on your little brother's tricycle, how large the library must have been for Jaeger to go that fast, and George rotting away in the basement.

    If you don't want your reader to giggle, rewrite them.

    Rarely will they cause actual confusion in speech or writing, though.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 14-Apr-2014 at 17:33. Reason: tiny typos
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: structure....

    They will almost certainly be marked wrong in any test, though.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: structure....

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    They will almost certainly be marked wrong in any test, though.
    Completely agree. Somtimes it helps for us to know if the person asking the question is in an academic setting or in "real life."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: structure....

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Look at the man (who is) adjusting his necktie on the podium.
    Why does he think the necktie would look good on the podium?

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