A black and a white dog means "two dogs".
A black and white dog means "one dog".

Then what about black and white dogs?

Does this mean two things? "Dogs, each of black and white color" and "dogs of black and dogs of white"?

  • 1
    I think this is a good question. I'm not sure why it was downvoted, let alone twice. – snailplane Sep 25 '14 at 14:14

Unfortunately the plural can designate either group: (1) bicolor dogs, and (2) black dogs and white dogs.

They can be disambiguated as follows:

black dogs and white dogs

black-and-white dogs

black and white brindle dogs (brindle means several colors on the same dog)

dogs, both black and white,...

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    so "white and black dogs" means two things?: "bicolor dogs" and "white dogs and black dogs, which are not bicolor?" – user2492 Aug 5 '14 at 13:33
  • 1
    potentially, yes. – CocoPop Aug 5 '14 at 13:38
  • 1
    so you should reflect that...as it is written, its still ambiguous. But thank you very much. – user2492 Aug 5 '14 at 13:41
  • 4
    did you perhaps not read (2) in the first line of my response? – CocoPop Aug 5 '14 at 13:48
  • 2
    Thank you for your insights, and especially for your restriction on how I would and wouldn't call a black-and-white dog. Fortunately, I was a dog breeder for 20 years and black and white dogs are either spotted or brindle, as is this: ebay.com/sch/… – CocoPop Aug 7 '14 at 17:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy