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For both restrictive clauses and non-restrictive clauses, must they strictly follow the nouns they modify? Is there any exception of injecting adj/adv phrases between nouns and clauses?

I have the feeling that I did read sentences that contain clauses not closely following nouns, but I can't cite any valid examples.

UPDATE:

Actually I would like to discuss avoiding ambiguity when a complex sentence having several phrases and clauses. For example, in our discussion a sentence:

I live in the house, and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack, which is next to the river

after I added an ADJ phrase, the position of the clause "which is next to the river" will cause ambiguity of which noun it modifies, "the house" or "the redwood park":

I live in the house in the redwood park, and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack, which is next to the river

So what would be the rules for clause position in such a case?

  • What do you mean by strictly? And how close is closely? – Jim Mar 24 '15 at 5:46
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    Take the sentence, " I live in the house that is next to the river." and add: "I live in the house, and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack, that is next to the river." – Jim Mar 24 '15 at 5:50
  • @Jim closely means right after the noun. In your example, the that seems a pronoun rather than the word setting off a clause. In my understanding, a non-restrictive clause can only be set off by which. – zx_wing Mar 24 '15 at 5:54
  • Your question says, "for both restrictive and non-restrictive clauses." You can easily replace that with which if you like. – Jim Mar 24 '15 at 5:56
  • @Jim thanks. If I modify your example a little bit, I live in the house in the redwood park, and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack, which is next to the river. Will it cause ambiguity that which is next to the river modifies redwood park but not house? – zx_wing Mar 24 '15 at 6:05
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I live in a house, more of a run down shack, which is next to the river in Redwood park.

How about this... Concise, and simple leaving the sentence without ambiguities.

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I live in the house in the redwood park, and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack, which is next to the river.

If the house is next to the river, and the river runs through the redwood park:

I live in a house which is next to the river in the redwood park, and when I say house I mean more of a rundown shack.

There's no imperative to move the clause other than the demands of clarity.

If the river is outside the bounds of the redwood park and the house is in the park:

I live next to the river in a house in the redwood park, and when I say house I mean more of a rundown shack.

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  1. Parentheses would be better than commas for setting off your clarification of "house"

  2. This clarification should stay next to the word "house".

  3. The default assumption is that clauses modify the most immediate noun, although this can be modified by context.

  4. If you want two clause to modify the same noun, you can use "and" to make it clearer that you are doing so.

So:

I live in the house (and when I say house I mean more of a run down shack) that is in the redwood park and next to the river.

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