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"The Bank's information department is responsible for the related system maintenance, obstacle removal and backup process."

Does the adjective "related" modify all three items in the list or only the first item?

Is there room for interpretation?

If I wanted the adjective "related" to modify all three items, without adding "related" in front of all three items lest it feel redundant,

how would I go about it?

Thank you in advance for your insights!

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"The Bank's information department is responsible for the related system maintenance, obstacle removal and backup process."

I think that most readers would interpret this to mean that all the activities were related to something. However it is not perfectly clear to me what that something is. Does a previous sentence make it clear what they are related to?

In any case, one way to make your intention clearer is as follows:

"The Bank's information department is responsible for the related actions of system maintenance, obstacle removal and backup."

  • Thanks for the response. The preious sentence does make it clear that all three items on the list a are related. However, I'm asking this question becasue I wanted to know if from a strictly grammatical view, how such a placement of the adjective would be interpreted. I've often stumbled on such structured sentences and sometimes its hard to interpret whether the adjective modifies all items on the list. I thought that maybe in situations where I'm not sure about the context, I could base my interpretation strictly on grammar. Thoughts? – Pohsun Lai Sep 10 '15 at 9:45
  • The problem with relying on grammar is that you cannot rely on your readers to know or care about the grammar rules that you are intending. The English language is not well-equipped to express formal logic. If there is a possibility of ambiguity then someone somewhere will read it the wrong way. Only by adding extra words or conditions can you make the meaning unambiguous. – chasly from UK Sep 10 '15 at 9:55
  • You can't rely on non-unacceptable grammar to ensure acceptable clarity. 'Yes.' is quite acceptable in almost all cases, but obviously needs context from preceding dialogue. Here, 'related' demands an antecedent. "The Bank's information department is responsible for the system maintenance, and the related obstacle removal and backup process." and "The Bank's information department is responsible for the system maintenance and the related obstacle removal, and the backup process." are two acceptable standalone statements (with different meanings). – Edwin Ashworth Sep 10 '15 at 11:57
  • Thank you Chasly and Edwin! I do realize my fallacy now. This has been real helpful! – Pohsun Lai Sep 11 '15 at 1:32

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