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pls help with the sentence below

English translation: Any future labour government that should come to power...

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18:39 Aug 9, 2002
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / grammar
English term or phrase: pls help with the sentence below
The sentence is:
They’ve hamstrung any future Labour government by promising not to increase income tax.

I am not sure about the meaning of *any* here. This is about parliamentary elections (the ones in 1997, Britain). Does this sentence mean that
- if Labour comes... or is it rather that
- any Labour government in the foreseeable future...?

TIA, Eva
Eva Blanar
Hungary
Local time: 09:04
English translation:Any future labour government that should come to power...
Explanation:
What it means is that as a result of their actions any future Labour government that comes to power will inherit an impossible situation.

I.e, should Labour return to power in the future, their life will be difficult.
Selected response from:

Libero_Lang_Lab
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:04
Grading comment
Thank you all, I am really grateful you gave it so much attention!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +7Any future labour government that should come to power...
Libero_Lang_Lab
5 +1any modifies governmentParaskevi Brunson
5 +1if labour gets into powerxxxR.J.Chadwick
3 +2any Labour government in the foreseeable futureKlaus Dorn


  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
any Labour government in the foreseeable future


Explanation:
is my opinion of what it means

Klaus Dorn
Local time: 10:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Monica Colangelo: undoubtedly
4 mins

agree  Nikita Kobrin
8 mins

disagree  Cilian O'Tuama: there's no indication IMO that it is restricted to the "foreseeable" future
14 mins
  -> you're right, I simply copied what Eva said, maybe there's foreseeable somewhere else in the text...

neutral  Libero_Lang_Lab: but it also means "if Labour comes to power..."
15 mins

agree  Paul Mably
23 mins

disagree  John Kinory: As per Cilian and Dan
5 hrs

agree  xxxKanta Rawat: it means any future labour government
2 days12 hrs
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +7
Any future labour government that should come to power...


Explanation:
What it means is that as a result of their actions any future Labour government that comes to power will inherit an impossible situation.

I.e, should Labour return to power in the future, their life will be difficult.

Libero_Lang_Lab
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:04
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you all, I am really grateful you gave it so much attention!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Cilian O'Tuama
1 min
  -> All power to your elbow

agree  Chris Rowson: Yes. Part of the point is that even if Labour win the election, a government is still to be formed. There night be need for coalition, there might be options of leadership, and certainly of other high posts. The sentence says "any" to mean in all cases.
7 mins
  -> Agreed

agree  loumunch
47 mins
  -> thanks

agree  jerrie
1 hr
  -> thanks J

agree  Yelena.
3 hrs

agree  Jack Doughty
3 hrs

agree  John Kinory: Wish I could make a sensible point that you and Chris haven't covered yet, but you've said it all.
5 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
if labour gets into power


Explanation:
My response (before looking at the other answers) is that the sentence is inherently (and possibly structurally) ambiguous. I.e. the word "any" here functions simultaneously in two different ways and hence licenses two potential interpretations. Which is the meaning to be understaood could only be determined from the wider context either textual or pragmatic.

"Any labour government" in the sense I have indicated would mean roughly "a labour government when and if it wins the next election and whatever its character and composition might be."

But that is just my opinion. Some eople might not understand it that way -- so it could even, conceivably, be a matter of dialect.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-08-10 02:46:47 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thinking about this later I realize that I often use \"any\" in just this way -- i.e. not just as a quantifier but to express a hypothetical or conditional meaning, but in a way that refers to the immediate context. In fact, in the example given, the context appears to limit the scope of the quantifier to the very immediate future and a set of conditions -- i.e. the present government has hamstrung a possible successor labour government, but not (to my understanding) any labour government in the future.

This is all a matter of pragmatic interpretation and in the absence of a more extensive context my present argument could not be pushed very far -- who knows but that the speaker may have wished to imply \"all labour governments into the foreseeable future\". But in order to find out you would have to question him/her on this point.

xxxR.J.Chadwick
Local time: 15:04

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  John Kinory: I see where you are coming from. Yes, it's like one of those optical illusions, where the cube can flip from convex to concave.
55 mins
  -> Thank you for your support
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
any modifies government


Explanation:
Which word is modified by any? :
1. any future
2. any Labour
3. any government

Answer: It simple if you think about it like this.
Any what?
any government
What kind of or type of government?
any Labour government
When?
any future Labour government


Paraskevi Brunson
United States
Local time: 00:04
Native speaker of: Native in GreekGreek

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxR.J.Chadwick: I agree with your logic, but pragmatically it could mean no more than "the next labour government if labour should win the next election"
1 hr
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