a. This is a great technique to keep in mind when arguing with narcissistic people.

Is that sentence slightly ambiguous?

Is it a great technique per se which is to be used when you are arguing with narcissistic people? ( [a great technique] which is to be used...) Maybe it is also a great technique for arguing with other types of people.

Or is it a great technique only when arguing with narcissistic people?

Would a comma after 'a great technique' change anything?

b. This is a great technique , to use when arguing with narcissistic people.

Many thanks.


You could replace "to keep in mind" with "to use" and it would be a bit clearer. On the other hand, the way it is written, the speaker is not necessarily advocating that you use it. When arguing with a narcissist, you would remember this previous technique and consider implementing it at an appropriate time.

It does, however, usually imply that you would use it in some way in such a situation.


No, the sentence is not ambiguous.

To say that something is particularly useful for certain purposes is NOT to restrict it to those purposes.

To say that a hammer is really useful for knocking in nails does not mean that it cannot be used for other purposes. A knife provides an even better example. It makes perfect sense to bear in mind that a knife can be used to sharpen a pencil. That doesn't restrict it to pencil sharpening.

If you restricted the technique by saying that it was useful ONLY when arguing with narcissistic people, it would be a different matter. Even so, that would not be ambiguous other.

No, the sentence does not need a comma, however you construct it.

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