I give an example below: I was thankful for

"I was thankful for the guy next door shoveling snow from my driveway."

My question is that why "shoveling" is placed after 'the next door', it should be placed after 'the guy' as the adjective phrase is placed closer to the subject/ noun it modifies?


  • 3
    It could depend on whether he was actually shovelling snow next door, or if he merely lived next door and helped you to shovel your snow. The "guy next door shovelling snow from my drive" suggests he lives there. The "guy shovelling snow next door" could be anyone who is just helping out by shovelling snow. "The guy shovelling snow from my driveway, next door" doesn't really make sense.
    – WS2
    May 29 '17 at 18:23

Next door is properly placed. It modifies the guy, so it's part of the subject NP.

If you move next door it becomes a modifier on something else.

I was thankful for the guy shoveling snow next door from my driveway—next door would probably be taken to modify the predicate, designating the place where he performed the shoveling; but it might modify snow, designating the snow's location.

I was thankful for the guy shoveling snow from my driveway next door—next door would probably be taken to modify my driveway, designating the driveway's location.

It's very unlikely that either the snow or your driveway is next door, or that your neighbour was shoveling snow off your driveway there.

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