“A knife cut in half” can mean?

  1. A knife was cut in half. (to undergo incision or severance)
  2. A knife cut something in half. (to perform the operation of dividing, severing, incising, or intersecting)
  • 3
    It probably means #1, but it is impossible to know for certain. Please post the complete sentence in which you found this phrase. Jul 25 at 13:03
  • It is not a correct English sentence. As a phrase it may mean "a bisected knife".
    – Peter
    Jul 25 at 13:03
  • @Jeffrey Carney I made sentences, and I want to know about ambiguity.
    – user7787
    Jul 25 at 13:05
  • @Peter You mean it cannot mean sentence 2?
    – user7787
    Jul 25 at 13:06
  • 1
    You haven't made sentences. You have put some words together. These may be used as a phrase in a sentence, but the words "A knife cut in half" is not a complete sentence. So ... why did you think of this question. Is there a real problem of communication that you have?
    – James K
    Jul 25 at 16:15

"A knife cut in half" is not an English sentence. "I saw a knife cut in half" is a sentence and says that I saw somebody bisect a knife (cut it in half). "I used a knife cut in half" would mean I used a bisected knife. To say that the knife cut something else you need to add an object to make a sentence, for example "I saw a knife cut an orange in half".

  • 1
    A 'knife cut in half' would be a curious thing, because knives tend to be good at cutting other things, and somewhat resistant to being cut themselves, and the shape and composition would make cutting one exactly in half a very difficult task. Jul 25 at 13:20
  • You could probably use a hacksaw to cut a mezzaluna knife in half, if you were careful. Jul 25 at 14:19

The phrase could be used in a sentence to mean either of the possibilities presented. Although, cutting a knife in half would be more than unusual - it would be downright strange. Knives are made of materials that are good at cutting other things, but difficult to cut themselves.

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