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Every time I see this message in Android Studio (a free google app) I ask myself whether it is proper English or not?

Please wait until the installation finishes to continue

While it is definitely grammatically correct English, it is ambiguous because continue can refer to both wait and finishes, or is it just me?

I am tempted to link to continue with finishes primarily because of their proximity, and I might be able to conceptualize as something finishes to continue which would be the same as to stop or to complete. If alternative interpretations of a sentence do not make much sense does it mean that a statement is not ambiguous?

Android Studio download progress message

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    It's not ambiguous: finish does not take infinitival complements, so to continue cannot be parsed as a complement to finish. It is however awkward, because a) you have to track back to find the verb the infinitival does complement and b) wait to continue is itself not very felicitous. "Please wait ... before continuing" might be a little better. I'd say "Please don't continue until the installation finishes". Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 14:46
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    This is known as a garden path sentence. In this particular case, the intended meaning comes across fairly clearly.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 14:46
  • "Continue" doesn't refer to anything. It has a meaning similar to "proceed", so its an intransitive verb here, hence no complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 15:32
  • @StoneyB: In fact there is no option to continue in the dialog, as can be seen from the screenshot. Using the Background button can be seen as a way to continue, but then again the message is not specific as to what exactly the user might want to continue doing.
    – ccpizza
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 19:02
  • Apparently I wasn't the only one who saw it as ambiguous: google changed the message to Please wait until the installation finishes.
    – ccpizza
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 10:19

1 Answer 1

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Please wait until the installation finishes to continue

This is not the best English, but is not terribly ambiguous.
Using the same words, it could have been written:

To continue, please wait until the installation finishes

Of course a better way would be:

Please wait until the instillation finishes before continuing.

More awkward than ambiguous, we often see sentences such as the one in question in technical material. However awkward, the three implied actions (wait, finishes and continue) are in the correct order to corectly follow the instructions.

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