# modificational scope of "two years ago"

In the following sentence, does the "two years ago" describe the time of buying or reading the book?

1. I bought the book which I had read two years ago and which had the author's autograph.

Now, if it is changed into the following, is it possible for the "two years ago" to describe the time of buying the book?

1. I bought the book which I had read two years ago, and it had the author's autograph.
• Both sentences give the strong impression that you read the book two years ago although both are capable of being interpreted the other way. Jul 18, 2020 at 22:52
• Thank you for your reply. I'm investigating the possibility of a time adverbal modifying the main clause, when it linearly follows a relative clause. Let us examine the following sentences: 1. I read the book which John gave me every day. Is this one correct, with "every day" describing the time of reading the book (however awkward it is)? 2. I read the book which John gave me every day and which has a flowery pattern on its cover. Is this one correct, with "every day" describing the time of reading the book? Note that there are two relative clauses. Jul 19, 2020 at 4:21

[1] I bought the book [which I had read two years ago] [and which had the author's autograph].

[2] I bought the book [which I had read two years ago], and it had the author's autograph.

[1] and [2] have the same meaning: you bought the book; you had read the book two years ago; the book had the author's autograph.

The temporal PP "two years ago" doesn't 'follow' the relative clause, as you put it, but is actually part of it. Thus "which I had read two years ago" modifies "book", not "bought".

If you want the relative clause to refer to "bought" you'll need to use a non-defining relative, as in [3].