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If I want to add a modifier to the phrase 'the rest of [noun]', should I put it between 'the' and 'rest'? For example

Population is mostly concentrated in the east. There are only few villages in the mountainous rest of the region.

Is it okay? Don't suggest rephrasing.

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  • Please don't say "don't suggest rephrasing". Rephrasing may be the proper solution.
    – James K
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 6:41

3 Answers 3

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Depends what the adjective is describing. Is it describing the entire [noun], or is it only describing the rest of the [noun]?

There are only few villages in the mountainous rest of the region.

Here, you are talking specifically about the rest of the region that is mountainous. The east isn't necessarily mountainous, and your phrasing certainly implies that the east isn't mountainous.

There are only few villages in the rest of the mountainous region.

Here, you are telling me that this entire region is mountainous (both the east and the rest).

There are cases where these meanings can both be correct, but that is not always so. It's also a turn of phrase that doesn't always work, there are often different phrasings better suited to what you want to convey. But it works for your particular example.

Using a different example may better convey the distinction:

I gave the apples to Tom, and the rest of the rotten fruit I gave to Tim.

ALL the fruit was rotten. Tim and Tom (together) received ALL of my fruit.

I gave the apples to Tom, and the rotten rest of the fruit I gave to Tim

Tim received all the rotten fruit I had after I had already given apples to Tom. We don't know if Tom received rotten fruit, and we don't know if I have any other (non-apple, non-rotten, e.g. fresh bananas) fruit left for myself.

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Although you don't want rephrasing, I think you have to. Yes, you would put the modifier in between "the" and "rest"; however, you should rework the second sentence. Try "There are only a few villages in the mountainous part of the region."

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  • I agree. With "east" already mentioned, "the mountainous rest" will be read at first as "the mountainous west". The OP could also use "the mountainous remainder of the country". Commented May 24, 2020 at 1:13
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You need to rephrase. This is a case where you are trying to pack several bits of information into one noun phrase, and it is getting confusing. The solution is usually to split things up:

Here you go:

Population is mostly concentrated in the east. The rest of the region is mountainous, with only a few villages.

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  • My question is not how to convey this information properly. My question is in the title. The sentences were made up while I was writing the question (because you all always ask to provide examples) Commented May 25, 2020 at 4:40

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