I cannot grasp the construction and meaning of the following sentence.

"What do Company A and Company B intend to achieve, anticipating that their intentions may be somewhat different?"

Could you please teach me the construction and who is anticipating in the sentence? I have never seen this kind of sentence before. I have no idea what is the subject of "is anticipating." Thanks in advance.

  • Read out of context, it's not a very clear sentence, but I would suggest that the writer expects (anticipates) that the intentions of Comapny A are different from the intentions of Company B, and vice versa. – TrevorD Jul 29 '13 at 23:18
  • @Trevor, can that sentence be a dangling participle construct, which, as is well known, create a lot of difficulties in understanding to English speakers? – user19148 Jul 29 '13 at 23:23
  • @Trevor, I know that you cannot understand, but if you had studied Italian you wouldn't have had any problem in understanding that sentence. – user19148 Jul 29 '13 at 23:25
  • @Trevor, in fact we identify "anticipating" as a gerund, whose semantic meaning and whose function are pretty clear. – user19148 Jul 29 '13 at 23:28
  • It is one of several bullet-point sentences and in the context of how best two companies should collaborate on a project. – user48754 Jul 30 '13 at 2:40

As TrevorD observed, the sentence is far from clear. No wonder you are having difficulty with it!

By re-casting the sentence, I might make the writer's meaning clearer. For example,

"Since their intentions are likely different, Company A and Company B will not likely achieve anything [in my opinion]."


"I cannot tell what Company A and Company B intend to achieve, given their different intentions." [or "It is difficult to tell what . . .."]


"What do Company A and Company B hope to achieve, knowing their intentions are different?"


"Knowing that Company A and Company B have different intentions, I wonder what they hope to achieve."

Or, in order to keep the notion of anticipation in the sentence,

Knowing that Companies A and B already anticipate their intentions to be different, I wonder what they intend [hope] to achieve."


"Given that Companies A and B already anticipate their intentions to be somewhat different, what do they intend [hope] to achieve?"

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    rhetor, I think that "anticipated" in the OP's sentence is supposed to mean "to speak or write in knowledge or expectation of later matter", but I don't see which of your versions fits this definition. Can you clarify, please? – user19148 Jul 29 '13 at 23:39
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    The Italian anticpare could be translated into: "predicting"= "telling ahead of time" (If this helps?) Not 100% certain. – Mari-Lou A Jul 29 '13 at 23:42
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    @Carlo_R.: Good point. I'll edit my answer by adding a fifth example. – rhetorician Jul 29 '13 at 23:44
  • It is one of several bullet-point sentences. – user48754 Jul 30 '13 at 2:31
  • The context is about how best the two companies should collaborate on a project. – user48754 Jul 30 '13 at 2:33

I have read all the comments, and the extensive answer by @rhetorician.

One thing seems to me abundantly clear above all else. Anticipating is a malapropism. The word the writer probably wanted was recognising. If you replace one with the other, the sentence immediately makes more sense.

Though I still think I might have said it differently.

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