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I have heard that modifier should be placed near the word or the phrase that modifies. In below sentence, the modifier "traveling" is placed next to the word "tourists." I feel the below sentence is correct. But feedback of this states that it is wrong, because it implies that the buildings may have been the ones traveling to more well-known memorial museums. Can anyone explain the reason?

Riddled with bullets, shattered by bombs, and hidden in alleys, the historic buildings in Lodz, Poland, were long ignored by tourists, traveling instead to more well-known memorial museums.

And the right answer is

Riddled with bullets, shattered by bombs, and hidden in alleys, the historic buildings in Lodz, Poland, were long ignored by tourists, who traveled instead to more well-known memorial museums.

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  • Regardless of the grammar points, buildings can't travel...
    – user3169
    May 23, 2016 at 19:32
  • @user3169 why can't "traveling" be taken as a modifier that modifies "tourists" Doesn't that make sense?
    – ARYF
    May 24, 2016 at 3:55
  • I was just commenting on the logical fact. It is difficult to say the first example means something that is not possible.
    – user3169
    May 24, 2016 at 5:00

1 Answer 1

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Yes, "tourists, traveling" suggests the buildings were traveling. The issue is with the comma between those two words. WITH the comma, traveling refers to the subject of the sentence, the buildings. If you remove the comma, then the sentence is correct, because traveling now refers to tourists. Yes, you can also say "tourists, who traveled", but I don't think that's any better or worse than leaving out the comma.

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  • "traveling" is near to tourist and not near to "historic buildings" then how can the meaning change?
    – ARYF
    May 23, 2016 at 8:30
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    This is a sentence-ending present participle phrase. You can read more about it here: quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/… With the comma, the sentence-ending present participle phrase refers to the subject of the sentence ("buildings"). Without the comma, the sentence-ending present participle phrase refers to the closest noun ("tourist"). This is a grammar rule in formal English.
    – Ringo
    May 23, 2016 at 8:53

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