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Suppose that some people say "professionals, such as doctors, should be required to work in the country where they did their training."

Now supposed that we are asked to discuss their opinion. Can we say:

Some may argue that if one does their studies in a country, then they should serve in the companies of the very country because they have benefited from the opportunities and facilities provided by that nation.

In this sentence, given the context, we are certain that "some argue that if one do their studies ...", but what we are not certain about is their reason. I want to convey the meaning that the fact that "they have benefited from the opportunities" may be the reason for their belief.

Is the above sentence appropriate for conveying this meaning?

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    No, a verb, modal or otherwise, not refer to another clause. Clauses are related to each other. Not one verb in one relating to an entire other clause. work for companies, not serve, unless you mean serve in the army. Your sentence is fine and we don't really do proofreading here.
    – Lambie
    Nov 17, 2022 at 21:29

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Your sentence is ambiguous in two different ways. One because it's not clear what "may" applies to, and the other because "some may argue" has two meanings.

Let's start with "some may argue"
This phrase is ambiguous. In its normal use, it can show uncertainty, like, "It's possible that...". This is the meaning you intend.

But "some may argue" can also be used to introduce some information or fact that you intend to argue against or diminish:

While some may argue that Edison is the greatest inventor in history, I think I can show that Tesla was even better.

In that context, I'm saying that people do argue that Edison is the greatest -- I'm not casting any doubt on that fact. Rather, I'm casting doubt on the opinion that Edison is the best.

So in your sentence above, "people may argue" could mean, "People argue opinion X, and they support it with reason Z, and I wish to cast doubt on some or all of it".

What "may" applies to
It we assume context makes it clear "some may argue" has the first meaning, we still have the issue that "may" can apply to any part of the sentence it's in. If there's several clauses that come after, it could apply to any one of them. Only the rest of the context will determine which part.

So your sentence above is ambiguous. It could have the meaning you intend, or it could mean, "Maybe people make the argument that people should serve in the companies of the country where they studied, or maybe they don't make that argument at all."

Both of these meanings seem possible, so there's no natural winner.

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  • For removing ambiguity can I say: "Some argue that if one does their studies in a country, then they should serve in the companies of the very country maybe because they have benefited from the opportunities and facilities provided by that nation." ?
    – alireza
    Nov 19, 2022 at 3:47
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    That indicates that the people giving that argument also give the possible reason for the opinion. I've thought of may ways to phrase it, but they're all ambiguous unless I break it into two very clumsy sentences. It would be better to allow the context to make your meaning clear, perhaps by adding a sentence before it with the structure: "I'm trying to understand why people think X. They may argue X because Y."
    – gotube
    Nov 20, 2022 at 5:37

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