Is this question ambiguous in what it is asking? i.e. is it asking

  • what is your reason for making noise (without considering about other people)?


  • what is the reason it is you, not another person, who's making the noise?
  • Is this really a question about the English? – Lambie May 4 '18 at 23:33

Yes, as written, it is ambiguous. You would apply emphasis when speaking. With no special emphasis, I would assume it means the first thing, "What is your reason for making noise?" But that's because that's a more typical question to ask -- it's not because the wording of this question specifically indicates that meaning.

If you want to indicate the second meaning, when speaking, you would almost certainly stress the word you. I would probably even stress it in writing, using boldface (as I just did) or something similar.

| improve this answer | |
  • There is no ambiguity. Why are you making noise? Why are you dancing? – Lambie May 4 '18 at 23:35

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.