1

"This question was posed to a friend I respected greatly three years ago."

In this sentence, what does the "three years ago" refer to?

  1. Does it mean the question was asked three years ago?
  2. Or does it mean that I respected my friend three years ago, and now I no longer respect him/her.

Thanks in advance.

2
  • Put it where you want it. Put it after posed if you want meaning 1.
    – Xanne
    Mar 1, 2022 at 5:44
  • Rewrite it until it says what you want.
    – Xanne
    Mar 1, 2022 at 6:20

2 Answers 2

3

Part 1

As written, the sentence is:

This question was posed to {noun or noun phrase}

This question was posed to {a friend}

This question was posed to {a friend I respected greatly}

This question was posed to {a friend I respected greatly three years ago}

This question was posed to {a friend I respected greatly three years ago who liked cheese}

Considering this progression, there is therefore little logic to breaking up the noun phrase to suppose that the โ€œthree years agoโ€ applies to anything but the friend. This means your option 1 does not apply, although casual readers may detect and misinterpret an ambiguity.

Part 2

Regarding 2, it is stated that you respected the friend three years ago. That is all it says: it says nothing about now. It describes the state of things three years ago. You may still respect them, or you may not.

If you wish to say the question was posed three years ago, better to say:

This question was posed three years ago to a friend I respected greatly

Or if you wish to retain the emphasis on the fact that you respected them three years ago:

This question was posed three years ago to a friend I respected greatly at that time.

0
  1. Does it mean the question was asked three years ago?

This question was posed ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ผ to a friend I respected greatly.

  1. Or does it mean that I respected my friend three years ago, and now I no longer respect him/her.

This question was posed to a friend I respected greatly ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ผ.

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