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This machine purifies water supplied to the building.

I am confused whether this means the water is purified before or after being supplied to the building.

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    The exact words as cited are ambiguous. To disambiguate you'd need either This machine purifies water to be supplied to the building or This machine purifies water that is supplied to the building. – FumbleFingers Sep 20 '17 at 15:11
  • ...or This machine purifies water that has been supplied to the building to make absolutely certain only that second sense could apply. – FumbleFingers Sep 20 '17 at 17:58
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It's unclear from the context. To clarify, you'd have to request more information, or pick up clues from context.

The machine, installed alongside the building's regular plumbing, purifies the water supplied to the building.

Here it's clear that, regardless of where the water comes from, the machine will purify it after it's in the building's own water system. Contrast this with:

The machine, installed in our remote facility, purifies the water supplied to the building.

  • Is it redundant if your sentence is modified according to FumbleFingers's comment as follows? : The machine, installed alongside the building's regular plumbing, purifies the water to be supplied to the building. – rama9 Sep 20 '17 at 17:13
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    @rama9 I don't think either "to be supplied" or "that is supplied" helps to define at what point in the process the water is purified. To be explicit you'd have to add more information. In the absence of more detail I would assume the writer means the water is purified after it is supplied to the building, though, because that's why you buy a "water purifier system". Otherwise you'd just be buying the water. – Andrew Sep 20 '17 at 17:28

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