a. He saved someone on four occasions.

Does that mean he saved the same person four times?

b. He saved two people twice.

c. He saved two people on two occasions.

In (b) and (c) did he save four people in all?

If he saved two people in all, did he save each person twice or once (one per occasion or the same two both times)?

  • 1
    Does "someone" infer the same person to you? Maybe this is better suited for the English Language Learners site? ELL.stackexchange.com – Kristina Lopez Jan 9 '17 at 23:33
  • 7
    Such expressions are inevitably ambiguous. If you need to avoid any possible ambiguity you should spell things out, event by event. – Hot Licks Jan 9 '17 at 23:33
  • This sounds more like a logic puzzle. Question: If he saved two people four times, how many times did he save one person? Answer: Need more information. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 13 '17 at 11:01
  • In real life, language is interpreted within the context of experience and what makes sense. "He saved someone on four occasions." If the conversation was about a setting where the same person would be expected to repeatedly need saving, someone might interpret it that way. But that isn't typical experience. Without that context or a reference to one person, virtually everyone would assume the sentence referred to different saved people. The sentences are ambiguous, they can be interpreted in different ways. There isn't a single right answer. – fixer1234 Mar 4 '17 at 8:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.