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Hello friends again.

My question is whether prepositional phrases can modify the same noun?

Example, we can see two different preposition phrases modifying the same noun in that example

"I am going to give you a card with a few questions on it about a specific topic."

"On it" and "about a specific topic" are modifying "a few questions" together.

With the same idea, I would like to write some examples.

1-) The conflict about you at home is unsolvable.


(About you) and (at home) are modifying "the conflict" together at the same time.

I think it is possible, because the only thing which "at home" can modify, is "the conflict" here.

Prepositional phrases can not modify object pronouns. That's why "you" is not a possibility to be modified/defined.

Some British teachers said: "It is okay", but some American teachers said: "It is not okay."


2-) The conflict about religions at home is unsolvable.

I think it is not possible. Because there is a noun before "at home" now, and it causes "at home" to modify the noun before itself.

It gramatically seems like "at home" is modifying "religions". That's why I am thinking it is incorrect.


3-) Disagreement in the immigrant community about a path to citizenship

It is from news headline. There is more than prepositional phrases here and all of them are modifying the same noun.

How can it be possible? Normally, prepositional phrases modify the noun closest to themselves.

or Is it a special case for language used in news?


Thank you very much..

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Jawel3-) Disagreement in the immigrant community about a path to citizenshipIt is from news headline. There is more than prepositional phrases here and all of them are modifying the same noun.How can it be possible? Normally, prepositional phrases modify the noun closest to themselves.

Perhaps normally they do, but that's because 98% of the time there is only one prepositional phrase after the noun it modifies.

Reading your questions over the past few weeks, I think you have the misconception that you can't have a second (or even third) prepositional phrase that modifies the same noun.

As you have seen, sentences become more complex and ambiguous when there are two or more prepositional phrases associated with the same noun. That's why you don't find more than one in the writing of most people.

In the cases where there is more than one prepositional phrase, you absolutely must use your common sense and your knowledge of the world to disambiguate any ambiguity.

If you like puzzles like this, you may find it amusing to figure out how many different ways the following sentence may be interpreted. Here the ambiguity cannot be resolved.

We saw a man on a hill with a telescope.

(Your knowledge of the world should immediately tell you that the hill does not have a telescope, so you can omit any of those ridiculous interpretations right from the beginning.)

CJ

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JawelPrepositional phrases can not modify object pronouns.

Think about these two. They are both natural English.

She saw me in my green dress.
She saw me in the city park.

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Jawel3-) Disagreement in the immigrant community about a path to citizenship

The two prepositional phrases (in the immigrant community, about a path to citizenship) can be interchanged with no problem. They are both of equal importance, and modify the head noun, "disagreement." It is the writer's choice of which to put first. There is no ambiguity.

Disagreement about a path to citizenship in the immigrant community

Note that the phrase "to citizenship" cannot be moved. It modifies "path."

But in a full sentence, the phrase "in the immigrant community" could be classified as adverbial and the phrase "about a path to citizenship" as adjectival.

In the immigrant community, (where?) there is much disagreement about a path to citizenship. (What kind of disagreement?)

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Comments  

I read all what you wrote here. I know that there are solutions to correct ambiguity in these sentences, but it is just for learning this constructure correctly.

Would you like to explain your ideas for each of the examples?

I have identified my thoughts below examples.

Do you agree with me about them?

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 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
CalifJimWe saw a man on a hill with a telescope.

Hmmm...

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
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AlpheccaStarsHmmm...

OK. There's a way that a hill can have a telescope — not for dinner, though.

[ Oh, no! Now you'll find an example of that! ]

CJ

AlpheccaStars

She saw me in my green dress.
She saw me in the city park.

Just for the record, I don't see the italicized phrases as modifiers of the pronoun 'me'. They do not restrict the meaning of 'me' as if there were several 'me's to choose from.

the girl in my green dress works that way because it specifies which girl, but me in my green dress doesn't; there is no other 'me' who is not 'in my green dress'. It's not a question of "Which me are we talking about?" Ditto for the park. Both of those phrases are adverbial adjuncts. The second is clearly an adverbial of place: Where did she see me?Is the first one the same? Is "in a dress" a place? Emotion: thinking

Just saying.

CJ

CalifJimWhere did she see me?Is the first one the same? Is "in a dress" a place?

I was only trying to get Jawel to realize that when a prepositional phrase follows a noun or pronoun, it could well be adverbial, not adjectival. An adverb of manner (how was I seen) and adverb of place (where was I seen).

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