What exactly does " I go to school at 7" mean? Which one of these does it mean?

  • leave home at 7
  • take transportation vehicle at 7
  • arrive at school at 7, or
  • my first class starts at 7
  • It could also be said by a kindergarten child to specify at what age he or she will start in "the big school".
    – JavaLatte
    Dec 18 '16 at 9:27
  • I will definitely take it as #1.
    – Usernew
    Dec 18 '16 at 13:28

That is a good list of alternate interpretations. It could mean ANY of those things, depending on the speaker and the context. Absent any other cues, I would assume #3 or #4 in your list of options. But you should not assume that everyone (or even most) would understand it that way.

  • 4
    It could mean any of those interpretations and although @Richard understands it as #3 or #4, I would understand it as #1, because #3 and #4 would be phrased "I start school at 7" Dec 18 '16 at 6:15
  • 1
    I agree that this is ambiguous. I would guess #1 or #4 absent other context. It might be nice to expand this answer with a few alternative usages that reduce the ambiguity: I leave for school at 7; I arrive at school at 7; I attend school from 7-4p; etc. Dec 18 '16 at 8:27

I would usually take it to mean

the student leaves their house at 7am to travel to school

since 7am is very early for class to start in a normal situation. However, given other locations and situations it may be possible that somethings actually do start at 7am, e.g athletic practice. Obviously, the speaker is depending on the listener's understanding and knowledge of common local practices.


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