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I was perusing the Wikipedia article about the Transformers film series and there is a section that describes a fifth movie in the franchise. Specifically, the section begins with this sentence:

Transformers 5 is the fifth film in the series that is currently untitled.

Are all of the following interpretations valid (without any external context)?

  1. "Transformers 5 is an untitled movie that comes after four previous movies."
  2. "Transformers 5 is the fifth untitled movie in the current series."
  3. "Transformers 5 is the fifth movie in an untitled series."

As a second question, would any interpretations be invalid if the sentence was changed to

Transformers 5 is the fifth film in the series which is currently untitled.

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    Absent prior knowledge/context, all three interpretations are credible. Regardless of whether you use that or which, the actual referent is still equally ambiguous, (as is the scope of untitled). – FumbleFingers Jun 24 '15 at 19:38
  • It would be better phrased "Transformers 5, which is the fifth film in the series, is currently untitled". (Though saying it's the fifth film in the series is boarding on tautology here IMO, the subclause isn't needed at all) – anotherdave Jun 24 '15 at 22:06
  • But if the point is to say the series — and not the movie itself — is untitled, then what @anotherdave has said is not better phrased. – Jake Regier Jul 24 '15 at 23:14
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That is a restrictive clause, such that when removed the sentence no longer has the same meaning. Which is a nonrestrictive clause, meaning it can be left out without changing the sentence meaning. The initial "Transformers 5 is the fifth film in the series that is currently untitled" the same as the interpretation you provided ("Transformers 5 is the fifth film in the series [,] which is currently untitled"). The initial statement is saying that Transformers 5 is both the film film in the series and that it is the fifth film in the series to be untitled. The provided alteration is saying that it is the fifth film in the series and it happens to be untitled. What happens to be untitled remains ambiguous (either the film or the series).

For your interpretations, they all seem to be valid, but with different meanings, and therefore, because of the vagueness of the actual meaning the original statement is not as good as the one you provided at the end of your question.

The previous statements are if the untitled property refers to the fifth movie (Transformers 5). If the series of movies itself is untitled, then both the original and changed (the that vs. which) can be said to be acceptable. Because the scope of the untitled reference is ambiguous, this is left open to much interpretation.

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