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Recently I came across a technical article. It had following section heading:

Forwarding references to DOM components

If we see the statement in isolation, without surrounding text, which of the following meaning of the statement is correct?

  1. references are being forwarded to DOM components
  2. references to DOM components are being forwarded

How can I rephrase the statement to clearly convey meaning no. 1?
How can I rephrase the statement to clearly convey meaning no. 2?

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2 Answers 2

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Either meaning 1. or 2. can apply to the statement. The two meanings that you provided are sufficient to rephrase the statement. Meaning 2. can be made more clear as follows:

  1. DOM component references are being forwarded
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  • I think the meaning 2 can be made more concise: "Forwarding DOM component references"
    – the Hutt
    May 20 at 15:26
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It is hard to make the meaning clear without using a finite verb. (Your original doesn't have a finite verb, as is normal for a section heading.) Here are some possibilities:

References to DOM components: forwarding

References: forwarding to DOM components

Note that the original text contains another ambiguity: Is someone forwarding the references (i.e., "references" functions as the direct object of "forwarding"), or are the references themselves doing the forwarding (i.e., "forwarding" modifies "references")? My suggestions assume the former.

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  • Ahh, I didn't think of the third case. 🤯
    – the Hutt
    May 20 at 15:29

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