He boarded a train from Philadelphia.

This sentence looks ambiguous to me, because trains usually stop by many places. It looks like it means either he boarded a train at Philadelphia, or he boarded a train departing from Philadelphia. That is, the former is his departure place, while the latter is the train's original departure place. Which is right? Or do I need more context?


1 Answer 1


There is no ambiguity.

The sentence states that the train he boarded came from Philadelphia.

We do not know where he boarded it. But it could not have been in Philadelphia because that is where the train came from.

Whether the train originated in Philadelphia or merely came through Philadelphia is uncertain.

  • Yes. He boarded a train at or in Philadelphia, or he boarded a train from Philadelphia at another location. In the UK we very often describe trains by their station of origin and the time they were scheduled to depart that station. So the 11.00 from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley calls at York at 12:55, and someone boarding at York might say 'I boarded the 11:00 from Kings Cross". Mar 21, 2022 at 10:16

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