In the following sentence, what is “its” referring to?  “SomeSystem” or “their own proprietary software product”?

Company X, from Germany, takes the role of a remote provider and integrates SomeSystem with their own proprietary software product to demonstrate its capabilities.

(Could the meaning of the sentence be considered ambiguous as is?)

  • 1
    Yes, it's ambiguous. – Jim Jul 26 '16 at 15:31
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    Yes, it's ambiguous, but if we can assume that they're more interested in "demonstrating the capabilities" of "their own proprietary software product" than "SomeSystem", then we could assume that "its" is referring to "their own proprietary software product" . On the other hand, their product could **boost the capabilities" of SomeSystem, in which case "its" would be referring to the enhanced version of "SomeSystem". I'd expect it to say something about "enhanced capabilities" in this case though. – Max Williams Jul 26 '16 at 15:31
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    Well, without the surrounding sentences and parts censored the integration itself isn't clear already. Their own product could be a means of integrating SomeSystem (into the customer/demo/presentation system) or they could have integrated both of the systems. As @MaxWilliams points out the likelyhood is higher that they are showing their own products capabilities. With some context it might be clearer. – Helmar Jul 26 '16 at 15:34
  • The original text is mostly about SomeSystem and the its was supposed to refer to it. I'll rephrase it in my document to avoid the ambiguity. (Unfortunately, the original text is confidential so I cannot show it here.) – Daniel Jul 26 '16 at 16:43

Yes the meaning is ambiguous. It could also refer to Company X itself, although I would consider this less likely. (The use of plural/singular to refer to companies is a British/US distinction.)

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