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    #1

    living in a shabby house

    1-He was not an unhappy man, living in a shabby house.
    Was he living in a shabby house or not?

    2-He was not an unhappy man, dressed in shabby clothes.
    Was he dressed in shabby clothes or not?

    I think the sentences are ambiguous.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: living in a shabby house

    I am not a teacher.

    Not ambiguous.

    For me, with the comma there, they mean that he was not unhappy but that he was living in a shabby house and/or dressed in shabby clothes.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: living in a shabby house

    If there were no comma there'd be a risk of ambiguity (although in the context of a negative the defining relative clause would be unlikely.)

    b

    But it would be a lot better to clarify: 'Although [...shabby circumstances...] he was not unhappy.'
    Last edited by BobK; 04-Jul-2014 at 16:17. Reason: Added PS

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: living in a shabby house

    To me it's ambiguous. I'm not confident enough of people's use of commas to be confident of the meaning.
    Certainly the comma has no explicit function in negating the 'not'.

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