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The original sentence:

The changes identified by David Graddol all present clear and major challenges to the UK's providers of English language teaching to people of other countries and to broader education sectors.

My understanding:

The changes present challenges to people of other countries and to broader education sectors. (i.e. present something to somebody and to somebody.)

But according to the answer, it should be:

...challenges to the UK's providers ... and to broader education sectors. (i.e. challenges to somebody and to somebody.)

I think both are right. The meaning depends on the context(available at here), but it seems to make sense to me in both ways...

I am literally confused by it. Please help!

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  • Are you saying that one possible interpretation of the sentence is where the UK's English language teaching providers provide English-teaching to (1) people of other countries, and (2) to broader education sectors?
    – user3395
    Dec 3, 2019 at 15:10
  • where did this sentence come from is it an online test for example?
    – WendyG
    Dec 3, 2019 at 16:29
  • It is multiply ambiguous. Syntactically, to people of other countries could be a complement of teaching, or of challenges, or even of present; and and to broader education sectors could attach to teaching or to challenges (but could not attach to challenges if the first phrase attached to teaching). Some of these possibilities are semantically unlikely.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 3, 2019 at 17:51
  • @WendyG It's from a test of translation to Chinese. And I think the questioner may be wrong.
    – Swa1n Suen
    Dec 3, 2019 at 23:56

1 Answer 1

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There is a bit of ambiguity, and I can see where the confusion lies. Unfortunately, your answer was wrong.

Here's a simple sentence that follows the same structure and contains the same ambiguity:

Tom causes problems for the mother of James and John.

This is ambiguous because it isn't clear if Tom is causing trouble for one person (the mother of James and John) or two people (the mother of James, and for John). Without context, we don't even know if James and John are siblings. If they don't have the same mother then it must be two people, but if they do then it remains ambiguous.

The part of your sentence causing the problem is:

..the UK's providers of English language teaching to people of other countries and to broader education sectors.

You thought that "the UK's providers of English language teaching" were the only ones affected because you assumed there were two recipients of their teaching: (1) people of other countries, and (2) broader education sectors. In fact, the "and" in the partial quote above is not separating two recipients of the teaching, but the two groups affected by the changes, namely:

  1. The UK's providers of English language teaching to people of other countries
  2. Broader education sectors

The logic you could have applied is that the UK's providers of English language teaching surely do not teach 'broader education sectors'.

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  • I think the two recipients are the objects of present, as I have re-edited my problem more clear.
    – Swa1n Suen
    Dec 5, 2019 at 10:01

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