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Take the following sentence:

For all work-shifts of any given day, except for the last one, the following constraints are set forth.

Does the subordinate clause except for the last one refer to work-shift or to day?

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    It applies to the work-shifts. The phrase is "For all X except the last one", where X is "work-shifts of any given day." So the exception applies to the last work-shift of a given day. – Brandin Mar 18 '15 at 19:34
  • The prepositional phrase, except of the last one, might sound better as except for the last one, and it probably refers to sifts. – ScotM Mar 18 '15 at 20:14
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    Grammatically, it's ambiguous. But I think you can conclude that it means work-shifts by context. – Peter Shor Mar 18 '15 at 20:55
  • I read it to refer to work-shifts with the comma preceding except, and day without that comma. – Lawrence Apr 13 '16 at 7:14
  • I think "except for the last one" is not a subordinate clause; it's something like a prepositional phrase. – GrimGrom Nov 9 '16 at 14:30
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As indicated by the comments on the OP, it only makes sense if except for the last one applies to work-shifts, but the sentence is grammatically ambiguous.

If you would like to reduce or eliminate the ambiguity, you can try something like the following.

For any but the last work-shift of any given day, the following constraints are set forth.

If you're willing to separate the sentence, you can try this.

For all work-shifts of any given day, the following constraints are set forth.

The following exceptions apply for the last work-shift of any given day.

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As Paul Rowe's answer indicates, there are a number of ways to produce an unambiguous restatement of the original sentence by rewording it. If you wanted to retain all of the original words and make the meaning unambiguous by altering only punctuation and word order, however, you could express the sentence this way:

For all work-shifts—except for the last one—of any given day, the following constraints are set forth.

By way of fine-tuning the sentence, you could delete the second for (the one between except and last) without any loss of meaning, and you could change the of to on if you liked the sound of the resulting prepositional phrase better. I think that "apply" reads better than "are set forth" at the end of the sentence, though this is strictly a matter of personal preference. Introducing these changes yields the following version of the sentence:

For all work-shifts—except the last one—on any given day, the following constraints apply.

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