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a. She gave John and Henry seventy dollars.

b. She gave John and Henry a knife and a flashlight.

c. She gave twenty dollars to John and Henry.

d. She gave a knife and a flashlight to John and Henry.

Can we tell if

  1. John and Henry each received seventy dollars/a knife and a flashlight

or if

  1. John and Henry together received seventy dollars/a knife and a flashlight

?

I asked a similar question a couple of days ago, but I think these sentences are different from those in that question.

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These statements are vague enough that we can not definitely state which happened. Either of your two options could have happened.

  • The statements are not vague. "She gave twenty dollars to John and Henry," compounds J & H into one entity. That single entity, J & H, was given twenty dollars. She is out a net of twenty dollars. – EllieK Apr 25 '18 at 19:37
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If you combine your subjects, John and Henry, into a compound singular entity referred to as John and Henry, then the amount of money you give them is given to compound singular entity. You could be more clear.

She gave John and Henry twenty dollars each. = She gave John twenty dollars and Henry twenty dollars. She paid out forty dollars.

She gave John and Henry a total of twenty dollars. = She gave John and Henry twenty dollars. She paid out twenty dollars.

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