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In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.

(from The Great Gatsby)

Which words does the phrase "so long forgotten" modify in the sentence above? Does it mean just the cordials are so long forgotten or all the gins, liquors and cordials are also so long forgotten? How can you rewrite the sentence to emphasize each case?

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    Because he repeats “with” for the cordials but not for the liquors, I’d conclude that the expression modifies cordials only. PS requests for how to rewrite the sentence is off-topic. – Chappo Apr 3 at 11:48
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    Yep, without "with" it would refer to both forms of booze, but "with" changes that, and only the cordials are long forgotten. – Hot Licks Apr 3 at 12:18
  • I think you could also force the "applies to all antecedents" interpretation by including pauses / commas before and after and with cordials (making that element a "parenthetical addition" to the list of long-forgotten drinks).. – FumbleFingers Apr 3 at 12:38
  • Your question is fine here, but you may also be interested in checking out the Literature Stack Exchange, where there are a couple of dozen questions about The Great Gatsby among many other books and stories. – Rand al'Thor Apr 3 at 16:19
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The cordials, which is why ‘and with’ precedes ‘cordials’ instead of just ‘and’.

  • This answer adds nothing to the two earlier comments expressing the same view. – TrevorD May 3 at 16:20

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