Benefits only available on Monday? Plus an ambiguous “it.”

WHERE you place a phrase in a sentence could make a huge difference in meaning.  Take a look at this sentence that appeared in the national news feed this morning:

A federal judge temporarily blocked Florida's new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits on Monday, saying it may violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

Whoops #1: As worded, the phrase ON MONDAY sounds as if it refers to when the welfare applicants will receive benefits.  i seriously doubt that would happen only on a Monday. ON MONDAY needs to be placed closer to TEMPORARILY BLOCKED because it refers to when the judge did this.

 Whoops #2: Grammar Glitch has mentioned before the importance of making sure a pronoun (IT in this case) is close enough to its antecedent (what IT refers to) for clear meaning.  In this sentence, IT is supposed to refer to Florida's new law, but the pronoun is too far away from FLORIDA'S LAW for that to be clear. In this sentence, it is probably simpler to repeat THE LAW instead of trying to decide where to place IT.

This sentence should read as follows:

On Monday a federal judge temporarily blocked Florida's new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits, saying the  law  may violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.


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