Which is correct: “lying gang of scum”, or “gang of lying scum”?

The subject of politics arose in the pub this afternoon (as it should not, really, but there you are), and the question of whether it was correct to describe a particular party as a “lying gang of scum”, or a “gang of lying scum” came to the fore quickly (as it will, in discussions of politics).

Could anyone suggest which is correct, or (if both) which is preferable?

Answer

These are both correct, but the two structures have different meanings. However, in your particular example, with the adjective lying, there is effectively no difference.

Imagine if you replace lying with the word enormous.

  • Enormous gang of scum
  • Gang of enormous scum

Either the gang as a whole is enormous or the individual members are enormous.

The difference with lying is that a lying gang is automatically interpreted as one where its individual members lie, because lying is something only individuals can do. So a gang of lying scum is effectively the same thing as a lying gang of scum.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Brian Hooper , Answer Author : Kosmonaut

Leave a Comment