I am having a debate with someone about possible interpretations of a sentence and we have come to a stalemate. The sentence is as follows:
"I'm at home eating vegan cheese in my underpants and singing Bushes of Love."
The other party argues that my sentence technically says that I am eating vegan cheese which is inside my underpants, when the intended meaning was that I am eating vegan cheese while wearing underpants.
My argument is that his interpretation of the sentence makes no sense, but I can't quite find an actual rule to refer to. I could see it making more sense if I had an article in front of vegan cheese, like "I'm at home eating the vegan cheese in my underpants and singing Bushes of Love".
But as it is without an article if I did intend to say that the vegan cheese was in my underpants, the way I said it would sound very wrong. It seems to me that without an article in front of vegan cheese it was used as a mass noun, uncountable and therefore interpreting it as being a countable chunk of vegan cheese that could be in anything in any subsequent part of the sentence seems wrong.
His argument is that the problem is in the ordering - that while with some common sense my actual meaning might be clear, the sentence was grammatically incorrect and I technically said that the vegan cheese was in my underpants because I should have said "I am in my underpants eating vegan cheese".
Is there a rule I can refer to when it comes to accurate ways to interpret this sentence? Which one of us is correct? Could the vegan cheese really be in my underpants?
Research I have done:
My attempts to find a concrete rule that might be relevant to this scenario led me to the following resources. To me none of these resources suggested that my sentence was technically incorrect. However, because I still was not sure what specific rule I could reference for him or if I was missing a specific rule proving me wrong our debate continued. This is why I decided to ask the question here.
- Cambridge Dictionary on adverb positioning in sentences: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/adverbs-and-adverb-phrases-position
- Grammar Quick and Dirty Tips on when to use articles in front of nouns, and mass nouns: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-to-use-articles-before-nouns
- Linguapress on word order and sentence structure in English: http://linguapress.com/grammar/word-order.htm
- Transparent Language on word order in Russian (Russian is my first language and the other party suggested in passing that what he considered my mistake might be related to different word order conventions in non-English languages): http://blogs.transparent.com/russian/word-order-and-logical-emphasis/