adjective clause: who was in some trouble

kenny4528

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan
Hi,

I just came across this piece:
While filming the movie in Scotland he was enjoying a picnic with his mother, near the River Tay, when they heard the shouts of a young boy who had been swimming with a friend who was in some trouble.
Do you think this kind of phrasing is confusing? I mean, it seems like the one who was in trouble is the young boy's friend. Do you think so?
 
  • Diddy

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    ...a friend who was in some trouble.

    I think that the boy's friend is the one that was in trouble, because as far as I remember from what I have been stuying about relative pronouns, is that the relative pronoun always refers to the noun that immediately preceeds it. But this is my impression only.
     

    kenny4528

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    ...a friend who was in some trouble.

    I think that the boy's friend is the one that was in trouble, because as far as I remember from what I have been stuying about relative pronouns, is that the relative pronoun always refers to the noun that immediately preceeds it. But this is my impression only.
    Hi, Diddy

    Yes, the rule you stated was right and reasonable, but as far as I know, English sometimes doesn't follow this rule. In other words, who was in some trouble could refer to the young boy as well.
     

    pumpkin2282

    Member
    English, USA
    First of all, this sentence is poorly written, so don't feel bad for being confused. But I think what is clear is yes, it is the young boy's friend is the one who is in trouble.
     

    crixxy12

    New Member
    USA
    That phrase does seem confusing, and to me grammatically incorrect. It seems like they tried to say that the boy was in trouble, but it was written that the boy's friend was in trouble.

    To produce the idea that the young boy was in trouble, they should have used commas in the following places:

    While filming the movie in Scotland he was enjoying a picnic with his mother, near the River Tay, when they heard the shouts of a young boy, who had been swimming with a friend, who was in some trouble.
    They also could have just switched "who had been swimming with a friend" and "who was in some trouble".
    Like pumpkin said, that sentence is poorly written anyways, so don't feel bad at all for not being able to understand it.
     
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