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Please consider this sentence "I will not engage in or undertake any other employment, occupation, consulting relationship, or commitment that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved."

Does the that ... clause modify the commitment? Or does it modify the employment, occupation, consulting relationship, or commitment?

i.e. Should the English grammar parse the sentence as:

I will not engage in or undertake ((any other employment, occupation, consulting relationship, or commitment) that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved).

or

I will not engage in or undertake (any other employment, occupation, consulting relationship, or (commitment that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved).

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    It obviously applies to all of them. It would be unreasonable to state "any other employment" without qualification. Aug 15 '20 at 19:27
  • Do you really think an employer could prohibit you from taking any other employment, or would even try to do so? LIke if you leave your job as a programmer they wouldn't want you to take a job as a chef?
    – Barmar
    Aug 16 '20 at 5:24
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The comma after relationship is confusing and wrong – it should be omitted.

The clause is a restrictive covenant or non-compete clause.

As there is no conjunction between occupation and consulting in employment, occupation, consulting relationship then it should not be understood as

"I will not engage in or undertake any other

(i) employment, occupation, consulting relationship, or

(ii) commitment that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved."

It should be understood as a whole: "I will not engage in or undertake any other {employment, occupation, consulting relationship or commitment} that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved," in which each noun/noun phrase is qualified by “that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved,"

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    I don't agree that that comma is confusing or wrong: seems like fairly standard Oxford comma usage. (So of course I agree that the list is to be read as a whole.)
    – nnnnnn
    Aug 15 '20 at 23:40
  • Nah, it's terrible. It's legalese, which is supposedly very precise, but it should have a comma after "commitment, IMO. Aug 16 '20 at 1:03
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    1 It is the comma that is causing the confusion. The confusion must be removed 2 sarenaulibarri.com/blog/why-youre-wrong-about-the-oxford-comma explains a lot - and I'm a great user of the Oxford comma - it has its place. 3 that is directly related to the business in which the Company is now involved, is a defining clause and that is not preceded by a comma. 4 All the comma does is provide income for lawyers.
    – Greybeard
    Aug 16 '20 at 7:59
  • Greybeard’s analysis is logical, clear and correct. There is no alternative; the comma must go.
    – Anton
    Aug 25 '20 at 23:01

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