My dentist knew that I collected bird's eggs and asked me whether my collection was growing.

These sentences are quoted from a English-Learning textbook(ビジュアル英文解釈Part I) published in Japan.

The interpretation of "my collection was growing" in the textbook says that, first, someone collected birds eggs, and then, the number of his collection of bird's eggs were increasing. However, I think this sentence can be interpreted in the other way, that is to say, the sentence can also be interpreted as "The bird's eggs in his collection themselves were growing up", not "the number of his collection".

Then, I would like to ask you whether this interpretation of mine is valid or not. Thank you!

  • 1
    No, eggs don't grow, they remain the same size and then the chick hatches. Anyway egg collectors usually blow out the content of the egg so that they don't hatch. That would break the egg, which defeats the point of collecting them. Jun 23, 2021 at 7:38

1 Answer 1


No - 'growing' is referring specifically to the collection, and growth of a collection would indicate an increase in the number of constituents, not of the thing being collected. If the sentence was "my dentist knew that I collected birds' eggs and asked me whether they were growing" then it might have the ambiguous meaning you refer to.

Weird sentence! I wonder if a dentist has ever asked anyone about birds' eggs!

  • 1
    In any case, common sense tells us that eggs don't grow. I suppose the dentist might have facetiously asked whether any of the eggs had hatched, but that wouldn't be described as 'growing up'. Jun 23, 2021 at 7:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .