I am having trouble understanding this sentence:

A family or household member means a person with whom the actor is cohabiting as a parent, or guardian.

Is the actor the parent or guardian or is the actor the child?

  • 1
    The actor is playing the role of parent or guardian and in fact is cohabiting with the previously mentioned family or household member in that role. – Sven Yargs Mar 17 '17 at 17:29
  • @SvenYargs Thanks. Can it be correctly interpreted the other way as well, where the actor is playing the role of the child? – mattz Mar 17 '17 at 17:35
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    @mattz No, that's not a possible reading. That would have to be “a person who is cohabiting with the actor as a parent or guardian”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 17 '17 at 17:37

The guilty party is 'with whom,' a standard shortcut that introduces confusion.

Let's remake the original sentence into a few shorter ones:

A family or household member means a person. What about that person? That person is someone with whom the actor is cohabiting. In living together with that person, the actor connects with that person (that's the with whom) as a parent or guardian connects with that person.

In the end, there are two requirements: The actor lives with the person, and the actor is that person's parent or guardian. The original version avoids repeating 'person' by using 'with whom.'

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