following something on (date)

ilikephoebe

Senior Member
Chinese Mandarin
Hello, everyone.

I have a question that bothers me a lot.
"The stock split will become effective immediately following the Distribution on October 1, 2016."

There are two things included in this sentence: stock split , and distribution of the stock .
This sentence can be read in two ways.

(1) The stock split will become effective immediately (following the Distribution) on October 1, 2016.
that is to say the stock split will become effective on October 1, 2016, while the Distribution will be finished on or earlier than October 1, 2016.

(2) The stock split will become effective immediately (following the Distribution on October 1, 2016).
that is to say the Distribution will be finished on October 1, 2016, and by the time it is finished, the stock split will become effective. Meaning that the stock split and the Distribution are on the same day.

Which explanation is right?
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Who knows? Only the author, and he's not helping us much, is he?

    So we have to fall back on the supposition that words that are closest together belong logically together. There are two groups of these: "immediately following" and "the Distribution on October 1". That leads me to conclude that your option 2 is rather more likely (say a 66%+ probability).
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "{The stock split will become effective immediately} following the Distribution on October 1, 2016."
    "The stock split will become effective {[immediately following] the Distribution on October 1, 2016.}"

    It is completely impossible to say with any certainty which meaning is the intended one. However, the lack of commas tends to favour the idea that the distribution will take place on 1st October, and immediately thereafter the stock split will be effective.

    PS I would have thought that the distribution would take place on one day, and not over a protracted period.
     

    ilikephoebe

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    "{The stock split will become effective immediately} following the Distribution on October 1, 2016."
    "The stock split will become effective {[immediately following] the Distribution on October 1, 2016.}"

    It is completely impossible to say with any certainty which meaning is the intended one. However, the lack of commas tends to favour the idea that the distribution will take place on 1st October, and immediately thereafter the stock split will be effective.

    PS I would have thought that the distribution would take place on one day, and not over a protracted period.
    I am glad I share the same thought with you, native speaker. Thank you, sir
     

    ilikephoebe

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    Who knows? Only the author, and he's not helping us much, is he?

    So we have to fall back on the supposition that words that are closest together belong logically together. There are two groups of these: "immediately following" and "the Distribution on October 1". That leads me to conclude that your option 2 is rather more likely (say a 66%+ probability).
    I am glad I share the same thought with you, native speaker. Thank you, sir
     
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