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Author Topic: A Sentence Syntax Conundrum  (Read 144 times)
Michael E. Galario
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« on: June 29, 2017, 09:15:52 AM »

Hi sir Joe,

Good day!

Just drop by to ask you a question regarding the sentence structure of the below statement. I lifted this statement from a certain document in our office.

" Please be aware of a ___ % fee including GST may apply to all debit/credit card transactions."

Can this grammatical constuct be defensible without the use of "that" or "which" before "may"?

Also, I find the use of the introductory structure "Please be aware of" a bit odd. I'd rather use "Please be advised that". What about you sir?

Thanks!

Mike



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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 11:05:09 AM »

Let's take a closer look at the grammatical construct you presented, but with a specific figure for the fee provided for semantic completeness: "Please be aware of a 3% fee including GST may apply to all debit/credit card transactions."

Clearly, that grammatical construct is a flawed elliptical form of the following complex sentence: "Please be aware that a 3% fee including GST may apply to all debit/credit card transactions."

Your first question that needs to be answered is this: Is that grammatical construct grammatically defensible without the the subordinating conjunction "that"? The answer is "no," for it would result in this confusing "hanging" (bitin) fused sentence: "Please be aware a 3% fee including GST may apply to all debit/credit card transactions." However, that sentence will become grammatically correct if we make the subordinate clause a prepositional phrase introduced by "of," as follows: "Please be aware of a 3% fee including GST that may apply to all debit/credit card transactions." Note that here, the "that" has moved such that it became the subordinating conjunction of the dependent clause "(that) may apply to all debit/credit card transactions," linking it to the main clause "please be aware of a 3% fee including GST."

Your second question is: Can the original grammatical construct be grammatically defensible if it used "which" before "may"? Yes, but only in British English, as follows: "Please be aware of a 3% fee including GST which may apply to all debit/credit card transactions."

You raised the point that the introductory structure "Please be aware of" is a bit odd, so that you'd rather use "Please be advised that." I would say that the alternative expression you suggested, "please be advised that," is an improvement, but not much of an improvement actually. You see, that expression is almost as officious and jargonish as "Please be aware of"; both of them border on the language that we might call "legalese," which of course isn't a very customer-friendly language.

I'd rather that we boil down the original sentence construct to this simpler, less imposing form: "A 3% fee including GST applies to all debit/credit card transactions." Or to this: "A 3% fee including GST is applied to all debit/credit card transactions." Or perhaps this: "A 3% fee including GST is charged for all debit/credit card transactions."

Take your pick.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 11:08:43 AM by Joe Carillo » Logged

Michael E. Galario
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 01:53:13 PM »

Thanks sir Joe.

I'd like to share with you the defense that was made by the person who used that statement prior to my asking this question. (It was just told to me by an acquaintance though.)

Accordingly, in the case presented, she did not use which or that. Her reason is that the word "including" functions as an additive like the connective "and". She even furthered that the use of which/that is not necessary before "may".

  Please be aware of a ___ % fee AND GST may apply to all debit/credit card transactions.

This has really put me in the state of quandary knowing the fact that the person who uttered the said statement is a native speaker of the language - an Australian. This makes me think to accept, though with some resistance, the said construct as some form of English variety - same case whenever they use the continuous form of the word "understand" in the statement "I am not understanding you. "

English is indeed quirkish at times!

« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 02:00:04 PM by Michael E. Galario » Logged

"The only thing that's worse than not knowing how to do something is to do something wrong while believing that it's right."

Remember: We may know something but definitely not everything.
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