I read this sentence and found it to be confusing:

According to NAME, there is an ongoing shortage of forensic pathologists working in the United States, with about 500 currently employed and a need for 1,200.

Does this mean 700 more are needed or 1200 more are needed, or is it ambiguous? (Also, was "specific" the right word to use in the headline given this context?)

1 Answer 1


You are correct; the sentence definitely contains an ambiguity. We can't be sure if the US needs 1,200 forensic pathologists in addition to the 500 that already work there, or rather the country needs 1,200 total forensic pathologists.

I don't think "specific" is the right word to use in the headline. The sentence specifies the need, but phrases the need in a questionable fashion. The specific numbers are provided, but the intention of the words is unclear.

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