What to do when company won't accept a check

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
TinMan
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#11

Post by TinMan »

aebrown wrote: I agree that point #5 can be read in two different ways. One way definitely says that payment of any consumer debt is prohibited, period. The other way says that the consumer debt that cannot be paid is only that debt that is a result of business ventures. Which way is correct? That's a question for inspired priesthood leaders to answer.
Or a high school English teacher who has no accounting background. The sentence includes two predicates. "consumer debt" and "other obligations" connected by the word "or" without any other punctuation, like a comma or a period. (contrary to what you say above.) That means the two phrases could be reversed "...obligations or other consumer debt..." When you reverse them, does it mean the same thing as you are thinking? The "or" also means you could leave the second clause right out of the sentence "...consumer debt that results from..." or whatever the exact wording is.

To mean what you want it to mean it would be better if written "...consumer debt, or other obligations..." And even then it is marginal because the focus of the sentence is what follows, "failed business or speculations." To CLEARLY mean what you and Gary said above, there would actually have to be a period after "consumer debt."

Again.

"Grammar: Saves lives."
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aebrown
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#12

Post by aebrown »

Wow. We have a real-live grammar debate. Good thing the Code of Conduct only prohibits legal, political, and religious debates. :)
TinMan wrote:The sentence includes two predicates. "consumer debt" and "other obligations" connected by the word "or" without any other punctuation, like a comma or a period. (contrary to what you say above.)
That's actually not contrary to what I said above. I wasn't talking about the actual punctuation, but rather I was talking about two different ways it could be read. I think it's clear from various posts that people do indeed read it in those two different ways.

Those might be the two simple predicates, but determining what the complex predicates are requires us to agree on what the correct parsing is. There seem to be two different absolute positions; I can see it both ways. But (spoiler alert!) I do have a preference.
TinMan wrote:That means the two phrases could be reversed "...obligations or other consumer debt..." When you reverse them, does it mean the same thing as you are thinking? The "or" also means you could leave the second clause right out of the sentence "...consumer debt that results from..." or whatever the exact wording is.
Of course reversing those two phrases doesn't result in the same meaning. But I don't agree with the absolute rule you put forth that those two phrases are what can be reversed to preserve the original meaning. We basically have "A or B of type C". You say it can only mean "A or B" and the restriction "of Type C" applies to both A and B. Others say it can only mean "A" or "B of type C" where the restriction applies only to B and thus A stands alone, unrestricted.

I do tend to agree that your parsing is much more likely to be what was intended. But I have enough experience with the English language to know that parsing is not always as cut-and-dried as we might hope. It involves a writer and a reader, and in this case there is no English language arbiter (high school English teacher or anyone else) with authority to make the binding interpretation.
TinMan wrote:To mean what you want it to mean it would be better if written "...consumer debt, or other obligations..." And even then it is marginal because the focus of the sentence is what follows, "failed business or speculations."
I don't know why you think you know what I want it to mean. I'm pretty sure your assumption is exactly the opposite of the truth.

In any case, we don't get to change the wording. It is what it is.
TinMan wrote:To CLEARLY mean what you and Gary said above, there would actually have to be a period after "consumer debt."
I didn't take an absolute position. I merely said that I could see how it could be read two ways.
eblood66
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#13

Post by eblood66 »

TinMan wrote:
aebrown wrote: I agree that point #5 can be read in two different ways. One way definitely says that payment of any consumer debt is prohibited, period. The other way says that the consumer debt that cannot be paid is only that debt that is a result of business ventures. Which way is correct? That's a question for inspired priesthood leaders to answer.
Or a high school English teacher who has no accounting background. The sentence includes two predicates. "consumer debt" and "other obligations" connected by the word "or" without any other punctuation, like a comma or a period.
Actually this is incorrect. The sentence only says 'obligations', not 'other obligations' (or at least the online version does...I don't have the printed copy available to me right now).
TinMan wrote:(contrary to what you say above.) That means the two phrases could be reversed "...obligations or other consumer debt..." When you reverse them, does it mean the same thing as you are thinking? The "or" also means you could leave the second clause right out of the sentence "...consumer debt that results from..." or whatever the exact wording is.

To mean what you want it to mean it would be better if written "...consumer debt, or other obligations..." And even then it is marginal because the focus of the sentence is what follows, "failed business or speculations." To CLEARLY mean what you and Gary said above, there would actually have to be a period after "consumer debt."
I hate to argue writing with a high school English teacher but... :)

According to most current style guides a comma should not be used before an 'or' in a list of items UNLESS the sentence is complex and could otherwise be ambiguous. Obviously at least some people see ambiguity here so I can understand that argument.

But I would argue from good technical writing style (and a handbook like this is technical writing) that it is not ambiguous. Specifically, good technical writing requires concise wording without redundancy (except occasionally for emphasis). If this sentence were to only apply to business obligations you could leave out the consumer debt phrase entirely and the sentence would still mean the same thing. Even if you wanted to emphasize debts in specific it would be better to use just the word 'debt' because surely the sentence doesn't exclude actual business loans from the prohibition. The use of the term 'consumer debt' would either be redundant or confusing.

However, if the intent is to mention two separate things, consumer debt and business obligations, then the use of the term consumer debt is very appropriate.

Of course, poor writing style is a possibility that I can't deny so my arguments could be wrong. And if my bishop decided to pay such a debt, I would make this argument, possibly recommend he consult with the stake president and then follow his decision.
TinMan
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#14

Post by TinMan »

aebrown wrote:
TinMan wrote:To CLEARLY mean what you and Gary said above, there would actually have to be a period after "consumer debt."
I didn't take an absolute position. I merely said that I could see how it could be read two ways.



You may not have, but Gary_Miller did. That is what I was responding to.

However, you said: " ...but the prohibition is strong and unconditional (not just a "should not".)"

Don't you think "unconditional" is pretty absolute?
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aebrown
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#15

Post by aebrown »

TinMan wrote:You may not have, but Gary_Miller did. That is what I was responding to.
But you lumped me in with him. I was merely stating that I was not in the absolute camp, and that I had not said what he said.
TinMan wrote:However, you said: " ...but the prohibition is strong and unconditional (not just a "should not".)"

Don't you think "unconditional" is pretty absolute?
Absolutely. :)

Of course, I was responding to a question that dealt only with "should not" vs. "cannot" and not with what the prohibition was referring to. I think you would agree that the wording "do not" is unconditional. The only ambiguity regards what it applies to, not whether we are dealing with a suggestion, recommendation, or absolute prohibition.
TinMan
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Re: What to do when company won't accept a check

#16

Post by TinMan »

Thanks for fixing my quote problem. I couldn't figure out how to do it.
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