Is it possible to place any word or phrase between a relative clause and the word which is modified by the relative clause? For example, which sounds ok ?

It is a fault to expect Emily who doesn't like children to be a good teacher.


It is a fault to expect Emily to be a good teacher who doesn't like children.

  • 1
    Your sentences don't really make the best sense the way they are. "It is a fault" is awkward phrasing, to say the least. As for placement of the relative clause, it's fine in the first sentence (although, it should be offset by commas or dashes). In the second, the placement of the phrase and the use of "who" modifies teacher and not Emily.
    – VampDuc
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


The answers for restrictive relative clauses and nonrestrictive relative clauses differ. Your examples have nonrestrictives, since the relative clause goes with a proper noun "Emily". Nonrestrictive clauses occur next to the NP they go with (they are not modifiers). Your last example violates this rule, so it is ungrammatical.

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