comma before present participle [meaning?]: of my friend, living next


Senior Member
Hello! I have a question about how we can use Present Participle.
Please, a bit of your attention, look here:
1) This is the sister of my friend living next door to me. (Here we see that our friend lives near to me)
but what I wanted to say was the following:
2) This is my friend's sister living next door to me. ( so as we can see it's the sister who lives near to me but not her brother).
Мisunderstanding occurred because of my having used the wrong construction, I've used the adjective expressed this part "living next door to me" and being too far from "the sister". So when I paraphrased it in the way I did in the second sentence the situation become clear and the sentence meant exactly what I wanted it to do. But if I still want to use the same beginning of the first sentence "This is the sister of my friend" ? How can I express that it's the sister who lives next door to me but not her brother? Can I say in this manner?
3) This is the sister of my friend, living next door to me.
  • No, it seems to me that you're still saying that it's the friend who lives next door (not the sister); the comma doesn't change the meaning.

    Why not stay with "my friend's sister"?
    Thanks. I have nothing against this variant, I just wanted to understand how a comma changes a meaning of a sentence.
    It is understandable, but strange, and not something a native would say.

    I think that it is difficult to construct a sensible sentence using both the demonstrative 'this' and the participle. We would probably use a relative clause instead of the participle.

    Without 'this', we could say something like;
    The woman living next door to me is my friend's sister.

    Other variations are possible.