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a. The reason he left the country was not to deal with this problem.

Is that sentence ambiguous?

I see two possible meanings:

  1. The reason he left the country wasn't to deal with this problem.

  2. The reason he left the country was to not deal with this problem. ( ... in order not to deal with this problem.)

Would you say that is correct?

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It has the first meaning.

To indicate the second you would write

... to not deal...

or

... to avoid dealing ...

Our sister site has some answers about the order or "not" with infinitive

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