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Which word does the adjective "good" modify in the following phrase:

- Good children's jokes

In other words, which is good: the children or the jokes?

Hi, Hussein—Both interpretations are possible. That is, "good children's jokes" is syntactically ambiguous. To grasp this, consider the following groupings:

  • [good [children's jokes]] = children's jokes that are good
  • [[good children] jokes] = jokes of good children
Last edited by David, Moderator

Hi, David, so to make the second meaning clear, the ('s) must be omitted, right?

Sorry for my typo, Hussein. Let me write what I intended to write:

  • [good [children's jokes]] = children's jokes that are good
  • [[good children]'s jokes]= jokes of good children

I meant to include the apostrophe-s for both meanings. They are two different ways of parsing the same syntactic string. Neither reading can be eliminated.

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