They will have to hone their already developed skills in advertising, communication, and marketing migrated to a multimedia, multichannel world increasingly linked together by the Internet.

I bolded the past-participle clause and I understand that it is adjectival.

but one thing that confuses me is that whether it modifies the noun preceding it or the entire noun phrase preceding it in this context.

Does "mirgrated to a multimedia , multichannel world" modify marketing or the entire noun phrase adveristing,communication, and marketing?

  • 1
    I'd be inclined to say that it's a modifier in the entire NP already developed skills in advertising, communication, and marketing.
    – BillJ
    Apr 4, 2019 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


It's ambiguous (it could be either). In fact, even if you could come up with some strict, technical argument why one of the interpretations is more "correct", the writer could easily have the other meaning in mind anyway, so, if the distinction matters, you just don't know.

  • Thanks, I wasn't aware of the fact that language can be ambiguous sometimes.
    – tsai zi
    Apr 4, 2019 at 11:12
  • 1
    I'm not sure whether you intend any sarcasm, but in any case ambiguity is far more extensive in language than even many philologists used to recognise. Often, we need to use our "human intelligence" to "guess" the meaning of a sentence before we can decide what its grammar actually is - and at that point, we're just using grammar to explain the meaning that we already detected, rather than using grammar as a formal tool for deciphering meaning. Oh, and, you're welcome, of course : ) Apr 4, 2019 at 11:47
  • Thank you so much again, I am sorry my comment earlier came out the wrong way ,that is not what I was intending. I understand that some sentence structures or modifiers can be ambiguous , such as prepositional phrases, but it never occurred to me that past-participle phrase can have ambiguity problems(cause usually it just modifies the preceding noun). And thank you for the explanation, it is really helpful :)
    – tsai zi
    Apr 4, 2019 at 13:20

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