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If checked, box 1 does not include loan origination fees and/or capitalized interest for loans made before September 1, 2004.

Does the phrase "for loans made before September 1, 2004" modify capitalized interest only, or does it also modify loan origination fees?

Is the statement equivalent to

If checked, box 1 includes neither capitalized interest for loans made before September 1, 2004 nor loan origination fees (for loans made at any time).

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  • Do you mean it includes one or the other but not both? And what does the time-constraint apply to?
    – TRomano
    Jan 22, 2016 at 10:54
  • What about the time phrase?
    – TRomano
    Jan 22, 2016 at 10:57

1 Answer 1

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The sentence is ambiguous, but I lean heavily toward interpreting clauses connected by "and/or" to group together all subsequent modifiers, whenever that interpretation makes sense. So I unpack this as:

If checked, box 1 does not include (loan origination fees and capitalized interest) for loans made before September 1, 2004.

or

If checked, box 1 does not include loan origination fees for loans made before September 1, 2004.

or

If checked, box 1 does not include capitalized interest for loans made before September 1, 2004.

This, by the way, is exactly why "and/or" clauses are considered poor form in many legal and contractual contexts. For instance, it's difficult to get a technical patent through the review process with an or clause in the claims, unless there is significant verbiage to isolate the clause.

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  • I hate and/or with a passion.
    – TRomano
    Jan 22, 2016 at 13:08
  • I agree with your unpacking, BTW, but unless the missing check in the box is an oversight, the bank does not. :)
    – TRomano
    Jan 22, 2016 at 13:17

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