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Samuel and Tova are committed to disagreeing about which one of the following?

A.________
B.________
C.________

I have two different interpretations about this question.

  1. Choose the answer that Tova and Samuel both disagree with.
  2. Choose the answer that Tova and Samuel disagree with each other.

Please let me know which one is correct, and why the other interpretation is incorrect. Thanks!

  • 1
    Samuel and Tova are committed to disagreeing. Which one of the following are they committed to disagreeing about? – Gus Oct 10 '17 at 17:39
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+50

Since they disagree "about" one of the following, then they disagree with each other about it. If they agreed with each other, we would say they disagree "with" one of the following.

If we hear that two people disagree, the immediate interpretation is that they disagree with each other, unless we find out that they mutually disagree with some common opponent. The given sentence does not place them as allies in disagreeing with something else. It has them disagreeing (with each other) about some topic.

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I assume this is a question following a story? The structure of the sentence is strange, because its basically a "fill-in-the-blank" question:

(According to the story,) Samuel and Tova are committed to disagreeing about (which one of the following):

So which answer best describes the subject they are "committed to disagree about"?

In this context it means that Samuel and Tova disagree with each other on this issue.

There is a common expression in English they might be referring to here: "let's just agree to disagree". It is used to end arguments that appear to be in a stalemate, and basically means: "you and I both know we aren't going to convince each other about this subject, so to stay on good terms, let's just acknowledge our opposing positions and talk about something else."

So I'd have to read the paragraph in question to know for sure, but "Samuel and Tova are committed to disagreeing about" might just be an unusual way to say that Samuel and Tova have "agreed to disagree" about some issue.

  • +1 for expanding your answer to explain "agree to disagree". – ColleenV Oct 12 '17 at 13:44

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