Hello, so I wanted to settle something about the grammar of two sentences and the conclusions I drew from the grammar of these sentences that caused quite a heated discussion with my dad.

Quick brief, I receive Youth Allowance and one of my parents started receiving a new income, and I had to update my parent's financial details via my account.

I received a letter on the 16th Dec (got the notification on the 19th) about needing to update my parent's financial details so they can (maybe) adjust my Youth Allowance given my parent's new financial situation. It said "If we do not receive these details by 30 December 2019, your Youth Allowance will stop".

I thought, ok, I have 11 days to sort this out. This morning on the 24 Dec, it came to my mind that now is the time to do it before Christmas, I checked my phone and coincidentally I got a new notification (came late again from a letter I received on the 20th) saying "Your Youth Allowance has been cancelled from 1 January 2020 because we do not have income details for your parent/s." I started to panic because I thought they said they were giving me until the 30 Dec, and since this is a new letter, I assumed that it somehow overruled the previous one about giving me until the 30 Dec.

My dad and I went in to the office and the lady clarified saying "No! It clearly says from the 1st of January so you still have until the 30 of Dec to fix it up" and we sort of went back and forth as I said "has been cancelled" is a past tense statement and there's no conditional about the 30th Dec attached to that statement regardless. Given this is a newer letter I thought it overruled the previous one. Would not the correct grammar be "Your Youth Allowance will be cancelled from the 1 January 2020 if we do not receive these details by the 30 Dec 2019"? Also, was I justified to be in sort of a panic due to the grammar of the statement? 

Edit: I'm a full time uni student if you're wondering why I receive Youth Allowance.

Last edited by jono123
Original Post

Hello, Jono123, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

jono123 posted:
 "Your Youth Allowance has been cancelled from 1 January 2020 because we do not have income details for your parent/s."

I agree with you that the sentence in question has faulty grammar; the use of "has been canceled," which signals recent-past cancellation, conflicts with the use of "from 1 January 2020," which specifies a cancellation date in the near future.

You are right that the problem could be fixed by changing the present perfect ("has been canceled") to the future ("will be canceled"), but I recommend changing "from" to "on" and deleting "the" before the two dates:

  • Your Youth Allowance will be cancelled on 1 January 2020 if we do not receive these details by 30 Dec 2019.

Another fix is to keep the present perfect but change "from" to "effective" and set the date phrase off with commas. "Effective" here relates to the phrase "the effective date," in this case, the date on which the cancellation takes effect:

  • Your Youth Allowance has been cancelled, effective 1 January 2020, because we do not have income details for your parents.

What that sentence means, essentially, is that the allowance has already been cancelled in the computer system, but with the stipulation (or cancellation setting) that the cancellation not go into effect until 1 January 2020.

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