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“The recent minutes and speeches suggested that the FOMC (the Federal Open Market Committee) was not sufficiently concerned about the inflation surge and asset prices to alter monetary policy and that seems the most likely outcome from the testimony,” Steven Englander, global head of Group of 10 foreign-exchange strategy at Citigroup Inc. in New York, said in a report. “In consequence, the U.S. side will probably be USD negative and risk positive.”

Bloomberg News

In this particular sentence, how does "to alter monetary policy" modify "the inflation surge and asset prices", in the deontic sense or the epistemic sense?

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to alter monetary policy does not modify the inflation surges and asset prices at all. It is the complement of sufficient:

... not sufficiently concerned ... to alter monetary policy.

How concerned was the FOMC? —not so concerned that it felt that a change in monetary policy was called for.

In this context you must also be careful not to adopt the parsing concerned ... to alter, meaning “anxious to alter, desirous of altering”. That sense of concerned is forestalled by the prior presence of a complement to concerned, about the inflation surge and asset prices.

  • There is another grammar structure possible here, a rather clumsy one: 'about asset prices to alter monetary policy' meaning 'about the alteration of monetary policy by the asset prices', but the context suggests it's not the case. – SF. Oct 20 '15 at 13:11
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That was confusingly written. Normally this idea is expressed with "not concerned enough to" rather than "not sufficiently concerned to":

the FOMC (the Federal Open Market Committee) was not concerned enough about the inflation surge and asset prices to alter monetary policy

I find it much clearer that way.

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