Yet, lasting peace rests on a complex and fragile web of daily practices embedded in local settings and daily encounters that individuals and communities maintain. People believe that these practices constitute the sustainable conditions for living together in dignity and shared prosperity.

(Note: This sentence has been edited for testing purpose.)

Source: https://webarchive.unesco.org/web/20190329203941/https://en.unesco.org/themes/learning-live-together

My question is: does “maintain” modify “daily encounters” only, or does it modify both “daily practices and daily encounters” (or I should probably say what’s the object of "maintain"). How should I determine which is the correct interpretation?

  • 1
    I think your edit (specifically, splitting into two and identifying these practices) has drastically altered the meaning of the actual sentence.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 28 at 6:18
  • I want to clarify that it's the original sentence from a test. Anyway, if we look at the original sentence provided in the link, which one should be the corrrect interpretation?
    – IHAI
    Sep 28 at 7:03
  • Grammatically it's impossible to be certain so you must depend on context. "that" could refer back to the "web" or the "encounters", although ceteris paribus you'd expect it to refer to whatever is nearer. However in "I bought a box of chocolates and toffees that I ate at home", "that" refers to "box" (probably).
    – Stuart F
    Sep 28 at 13:26
  • "maintain" is a verb, it doesn't modify anything. The subject of the verb is `individuals and communities". The object is either "complex and fragile web of daily practices .. and daily encounters" or just "daily encounters".
    – Barmar
    Sep 28 at 23:59
  • From the context, I'd expect the object to be the complex and fragile web. It doesn't really make much sense that the community only maintains the encounters, and not also the web of practices.
    – Barmar
    Sep 29 at 0:01


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