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Page below:

https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence/y/a-resident-of-great-britain/full-car-and-or-motorcycle/european-union-or-european-economic-area

will present you with wording

You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.

which seems very confusing. I am referring to part "..by exchanging..". I have tried to move the "if" part to the begging hoping it will make more sense:

If you got your EU licence You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months by exchanging your non-EU licence.

The way I understand this is that you can drive by exchanging the EU licence to non-EU, but only for 12 months. Why this document would be advising people to exchange EU licence to non-EU to be able to drive just for a year, while it's possible to exchange it to a UK one and be able to drive for many years?

Am I missing the real meaning of this sentence or is it really poorly constructed?

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    I think it means that holders of non-EU licences can exchange them for EU ones, but these will only be valid for 12 months in the UK. But it's poorly constructed. There's a link at the bottom asking 'Is there anything wrong with this page?' You could try telling them how confusing it is!
    – Mynamite
    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:24
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    It seems the main source of confusion is that your read got as have (got), as in the slogan "got milk?". In this case, they actually mean the proper, formal got meaning obtained.
    – oerkelens
    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:44
  • I have reported it as confusing already, but I have to admit it makes much more sense once explained.
    – Michal M.
    Jun 2, 2015 at 12:50

1 Answer 1

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Your rewrite completely changes the meaning.

Rather than "If A then B", the original quote is structured as "B, if A applies":

You can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence.

That means that "A" is "if you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence".

So, to rearrange this as "If A then B", it becomes

If you got your EU licence by exchanging your non-EU licence, then you can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months.

What you have is a different A:

If you got your EU licence then you can drive in Great Britain for only 12 months by exchanging your non-EU licence. [For the avoidance of doubt, this is not correct.]

There are two routes to gaining an EU licence: either by taking a test in the EU, or by exchanging a non-EU licence in another EU country (a country other than Great Britain, that is). If you exchanged your licence, you can only use the resultant EU licence in Great Britain for twelve months. If you took an EU test, you can use the EU licence to drive in Great Britain until you're 70.

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    I think the single most important alteration required in the Gov.org wording, as @oerkelens has pointed out is to change got to obtained. That makes a lot more sense to people who are interpreting got in the way Americans often use it as have got; e.g. If you got money you can go places.
    – WS2
    Jun 2, 2015 at 14:26

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