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I came across this sentence on Cambridge Dictionary

The central office sets the parameters that guide policy at the local level.

The example comes with a translation in a different language, but I got confused by it.

The translation implies that it is the central office that guides policy at the local level instead of the parameters.

I thought "that guide policy at the local level" modifies parameters instead of central office, so it should be the Parameters that do the guiding, not central office .

So, Is the translation wrong or my understanding of the sentence is incorrect?

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  • 1
    If you trust translators, you are at a great risk! :)
    – Maulik V
    Sep 12 '19 at 7:10
  • What do you know about subject - verb agreement? Sep 12 '19 at 7:19
  • 2
    Syntactically the relative clause "that guide policy at the local level" modifies "parameters". Semantically, we understand that the central office sets the parameters that provide the guidance, and thus have the ultimate control over policy at local level.
    – BillJ
    Sep 12 '19 at 7:34
  • You really should provide the link.
    – Lambie
    Jun 15 at 21:43
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"That" always has a connection to the noun, gerund or clause that stands before it.

Split the sentence:

  • The central office sets the parameters.
  • The parameters guide policy at the local levels.
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  • Yes, that connects to its antecedent.
    – Lambie
    Feb 13 at 19:04

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