Student or Learner
could you please tell me whether the preposition "by" in the following sentence could mean "issued by"?
Any delay in payment of the invoices by company XXX shall involve a payment reminder and interest rate.
I know it could refer to the "delay", but it wouldn´t make sense with regard to the context. So could it refer to invoices? Invoices (issued) by company XXX?
Thank you very much.
Yes, it could be referring to the invoices as well as the delay. In fact, it could also be referring to payment. One of the parts of speech that prepositional phrases modify are nouns (as in this sentence). They can modify the object of a preposition that comes before them, since objects of prepositions are nouns. In the sentence, there are three prep. phrases-
IN PAYMENT, OF THE INVOICES, BY COMPANY XXX
Each prep phrase could modify any of the nouns that precede it.
"of the invoices" could modify "delay", but it makes more sense that it modifies payment - it describes the payment further. Likewise, "by company XXX" can describe "delay," "payment," or "invoices."
So that's the grammar of it, but my personal opinion is that when you read just the first part of the sentence, you think it is referring to "delay." Who knows! Just hope that people will write sentences more clearly :)