this number was not allowed to exceed the sulfur standard

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Senior Member
Español (Santiago, Chile)
Hi, I'd like to know if I am interpreting the idea correctly.

For example, 1,000 tons of coal with 2 percent sulfur content and 500 tons of coal with 1 percent sulfur content would produce an overall 1.67 percent sulfur-content level; this number was not allowed to exceed the sulfur standard. The sulfur standards were set by law.
From case study "Buckeye Power & Light Company" by University of Virginia

The way I understand it is the government sets a sulfur standard (say, X%), and the company's calculated sulfur content must not exceed that figure, that is, it must be the same or less than X%, am I right? Thanks in advance,

  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Egmont is right. The phrase 'this number' here has to be understood as the 'result of calculating the sulfur content'.
    However, at first sight, you would expect 'this number' to mean the actual figure just given, namely 1.67%.
    That is the natural way to read the English, but it cannot be the intended meaning.

    The original is thus badly expressed. It ought to have read 'the calculated sulfur content'.

    (In the above I have retained the US spelling of 'sulphur'.)
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