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We are endeavoring to better understand the barriers to safe work environments and implementation of a safety program on film productions.

In this example, does "implementation of a safety program on film production" mean:

implementation of (a safety program on film production)

which means implementation of a program, and this program is safety program about film production

or

(implementation) of (a safety program) on (film production)

which means implement a program to film production, and this program is a safety program

I read this from an email.

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  • I would take it to mean the second option you give, but I think this is a pretty badly phrased sentence.
    – katatahito
    Jun 26, 2019 at 7:32
  • At first I read it as we want to create a tv program talking about safety on film productions. After reading it again though, I think it's poorly worded and actually means We want to better understand how safety programs are implemented during film productions.
    – Smock
    Jun 26, 2019 at 8:31
  • Some context would help. Without revealing confidential information, can you tell us more about the email's contents or about its author and their job/responsibilities?
    – TypeIA
    Jun 26, 2019 at 8:57

2 Answers 2

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The sentence is ungrammatical, because the fragment starting with "implementation ..." is a noun phrase with no corresponding verb. Most likely, the author meant:

We are endeavoring to better understand the barriers to safe work environments and to implement a safety program on film productions.

This is parallelism and is equivalent to the following two sentences:

  • We are endeavoring to better understand the barriers to safe work environments.
  • We are endeavoring to implement a safety program on film productions.

Here, the preposition "on" means "about": the safety program is about film productions. So, the author is creating a safety program. The safety program deals with the subject of film productions.

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The sentence is ambiguous and, therefore, open to interpretation.

My own initial interpretation was different from the others already provided. I am providing it here as an alternative interpretation—although I'm not saying it's the correct interpretation.

We are endeavoring to better understand the barriers to safe work environments and [the] implementation of a safety program on film productions.

This can be made even more clear through rephrasing:

We are endeavoring to better understand the barriers to two things: (1) safe work environments and (2) the implementation of a safety program on film productions.


I interpreted it this way because implementation is a noun, not a verb. But, regardless of interpretation, it's clear that the sentence is ambiguous.

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