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John insisted that I should attend the meeting with the companies since he really want them as a client.

John insisted that I should attend the meeting with the companies since he really want them as clients.

If I understand this right,

The first sentence means that John(as a client) want the companies for some reason.

The second sentence means that John want the companies to be his clients.

Am I understanding this right? The reason why I am asking this is because I read a translated sentence written like the first sentence above but real meaning was the second sentence.

Thank you!

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    "As a client" is too far away (and lacking commas) to be adverbial to "John insisted". "The companies" might be a 'group' making them one client. "Want" should be "wants" to agree with singular "he" (John). – amI Nov 26 '18 at 9:58
  • “wants them [the companies] as a client” is wrong, except in rare circumstances; yet I do hear it sometimes, in mis-application of a template. (“I want company A as a client. I want company B as a client. I want both companies as a client.”) – Anton Sherwood Dec 24 '19 at 0:48
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First of all the sentences should have commas and wants not want:

John insisted that I should attend the meeting with the companies, since he really wants them as a client.

John insisted that I should attend the meeting with the companies, since he really wants them as clients.

The second sentence is plural, so that means they want more than one company to become a client, and the first one means they only want that company to become a client.

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In both cases the companies are the clients, in neither case is John desiring to be a client.

In general one does not, as a client, want a company; one wants to be a client, of a company. That is, one does not desire the company in itself, one desires the status of being one of their clients. If John wanted to use the meeting as a way to become a client, he might say

John insisted that I should attend the meeting with the companies, since he really wants to be their client.

In both cases, as written, John desires that the companies acquire the status of clients; he wants them as.

The translation is within a margin of error. If there is truly a difference in the two sentences, it would be that in the first case he would like the companies, as a group, to be a single client, whereas in the second case he would like the companies, individually, to be separate clients. But it would be unusual in everyday speech to have that choice turn on the nuanced use of a plural. It would be more typical, in the second case, to say

John insisted that I attend the meeting with the companies, since he really wants each of them to be a client.

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  • That last sentence would be “typical” only if the speaker wants to emphasize a nuance that would ordinarily be unnecessary. – Anton Sherwood Dec 24 '19 at 0:46

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