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a. He mentioned fifteen Peruvian or Cuban authors in his paper.

b. He mentioned fifteen authors, Peruvian or Cuban, in his paper.

c. He mentioned fifteen either Peruvian or Cuban authors in his paper.

d. He mentioned fifteen authors, either Peruvian or Cuban, in his paper.

Don't these sentences have two possible meanings?

  1. Some of the authors were Peruvian and the others were Cuban

  2. All of the authors were either Peruvian or Cuban, but the speaker doesn't know which'

Many thanks

1 Answer 1

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The disjunction (or) means the any given author is Peruvian or Cuban. They might be all one, or a mixture.

The sentences do differ in meaning, however. Without context, some of them may be taken to mean that there were only that many authors mentioned, and all were either Peruvian or Cuban. Others imply that there may well be other authors, but that was the count of those who were either Peruvian or Cuban.

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