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I read the following sentence in a book and could not in any way justify the correctness of the sentence. Please help:

Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money, limitations intended to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government.

Why could we not just write:

Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money, to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government.

Or,

Most states impose limitations, which are intended to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government, on the authority of the legislature to borrow money.

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    I told you to buy candies, candies for her. – Damkerng T. Dec 19 '13 at 14:03
  • The structure of the sentence becomes clearer if the comma is replaced with a semi-colon. – ekhumoro Dec 19 '13 at 18:06
  • I don't think a semicolon is appropriate here. The comma looks fine to me. – Andreas Blass Dec 20 '13 at 1:12
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There’s usually more than one way to express anything. The sentence you quote is certainly grammatical. The writer has repeated and expanded limitations presumably in order to emphasise them and their intended purpose.

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    Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money, limitations intended to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government. is just a shortened form of Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money. These limitations are intended to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government. Compare Bilbo is a hobbit, a hobbit with remarkable courage and determination. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '13 at 17:01
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The sentence looks OK to me. I would regard everything after the comma, "limitations ... government", as being in apposition with the preceding noun phrase, "limitations ... money".

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Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money, to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government.

I would not separate the “to protect …” phrase, which is actually used as an adverb modifying the verb “impose,” from that verb more than is necessary. The prepositional phrase “on the authority …” is used as an adjective modifying “limitations,” which it properly abuts. My solution is to move the adverbial phrase to the beginning of the sentence, The reworked sentence follows.

To protect taxpayers and the credit of the state governments, most states impose limitations on the authority of their legislatures to borrow money.

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That sentence could be expanded to read:

Most states impose limitations on the authority of the legislature to borrow money. Such imitations are intended to protect taxpayers and the credit of the state government.

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