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Subject: Question regarding semantics of resolution for college policy debate
Question: I am a policy debater at the University of Michigan. For the entire
year we debate about a single resolution and have to propose
policies that fall under the scope of the resolution. Part of the
debate is figuring out the best way to interpret words in the
resolution, and a prerequisite to that is an understanding of the
semantics of the language used in the resolution.

This year's national resolution is:

''Resolved: The United States Federal Government should
substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase
financial incentives for energy production in the United States of
one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear
power, solar power, wind power.''

My question regards the prepositional phrase ''in the United
States.'' Does this phrase modify the verbs (''reduce... and/or...
increase,'' meaning that the action must take place in the United
States), the direct objects (''restrictions... and/or... financial
incentives,'' meaning that the restrictions/incentives must be
lifted/provided in the United States), or the other prepositional
phrase (''for energy production,'' meaning that the energy
production must occur in the United States)?

From: Alexander Pappas
Date: 31-Jan-2013
Replies:
  1. Re: Question regarding semantics of resolution for college policy debate    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (31-Jan-2013)
  2. Re: Question regarding semantics of resolution for college policy debate    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (31-Jan-2013)

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