They spotted the same man again, walking down the Newbury Street.

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Doom

New Member
korean.
Well, according to the dictionary
"They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street" means They spotted the same man again and he was walking down the street. This is the part i don't get it.....

shouldn't it mean they spooted the same man again while they were walking down Newbury Street.?

If not would you tell me the reason?. Thank you.

and in speaking which sentence would you perfer? if i'm right "They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street", or " They spotted the same man again, while they where walking down Newbury Street". Because when speaking you don't know whethere there is a comma or not......
 
  • bassoonery

    Member
    English, born in Japan
    It is ambiguous and a dictionary wouldn't help much but personally I think you're right because of the comma separating the "walking" clause from the "man". It's better to use "who was walking" or "while walking" but obviously that's not what you've got.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    and in speaking which sentence would you perfer? if i'm right "They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street", or " They spotted the same man again, while they where walking down Newbury Street". Because when speaking you don't know whethere there is a comma or not......
    Actually, we do tend to speak the two following sentences slightly differently:

    "They spotted the same man again walking down Newbury Street."

    "They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street."

    It's probably a difficult thing to pick up, but there is a slight pause or a "holding back" at "again" in the second sentence when spoken that is not there at all in the first sentence. I also put a little more emphasis on "again" in the second sentence and I think that's common, too. The first sentence would also probably be switched around to "They spotted the same man walking down Newbury Street again."

    Back to your question... :)

    To me, "They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street" means "...(and he was) walking down Newbury Street", not "...while we were walking down Newbury Street." The clause describes what the man was doing when they spotted him again.
     

    The MightyQ

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    The first sentence would also probably be switched around to "They spotted the same man walking down Newbury Street again."
    I'm not sure about that. That would imply that the first time they spotted him, he was walking down Newbury street.
    It makes more sense if they first spotted him somewhere else, and then "They spotted the first man again, [this time he was] walking down Newbury Street."

    I hope I am being clear.
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    Doom has discovered one of those lovely ambiguous instances in English that we try to resolve with commas or some other trick, but which really have to be reworded for clarity. The comma, reflecting the short pause in speaking, attempts to over-determine whether it's the man that is walking down the street. But for real clarity, you'd want to say "They spotted the same man again, as they were walking down the street," or "They spotted the same man again, who was (as he was) walking down the street."
     
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