Reduction of Relative Clauses

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Senior Member

- I have a friend from New York City named Michael.
- I have a friend from New York City, whose name is Michael.

Do the word orders of these two sentences seem OK? I have been confused because of the insertion of 'New York'. :(

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, it's fine, it's perfectly normal. The modifier doesn't have to be immediately after the very thing it modifies. Given what we know of the world, we ignore the possibility that New York City is called Michael.

    There's an old joke told by Groucho Marx, that trades on this: 'I once shot an elephant in my pyjamas. (pause) How it got in my pyjamas, I'll never know.' It works because when we hear the first sentence we automatically make the normal, non-funny assumption.
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