'The theoretical arguments regulating home schooling begin from this point.'

I have no idea why this sentence is ambiguous. Although the answer says 'It leaves the reader guessing whether the arguments are in favor of or against home schooling.', I can't understand why we have to consider about guessing even if the sentence is talking about the argument.

Also, how to identify which sentence is ambiguous?

2 Answers 2


I would not call it ambiguous. Rather, it is poorly formed and unclear. It seems to say that the arguments themselves are regulating something, which is impossible.

I have googled the original:

The theoretical arguments for regulating home schooling begin from this point . . .

You can see that in your exercise, the word for has been omitted. But I would not call the result ambiguous. It's just sloppy.

  • thanks a lot! :) Well, I have some difficulties on identifying ambiguous sentence as English learner. Are there any tips to improve such skills (or writing skills)?
    – Jokerjh777
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 6:43

All sentences are ambiguous. Consider

The cat sat on the mat.

It is ambiguous. You don't know if the cat was black or white. You don't know if the sitting posture was upright or not. You don't know what the mat was made of. You don't know if the speaker is pleased with the cat's location etc. etc.

The question is not "is it ambiguous", but "is the ambiguity a problem". So, yes the sentence in the question is ambiguous. You don't know if the arguments are in favour or against. I can't say if that ambiguity is a problem unless I know the purpose of the speaker, or if the context of the question allows us to infer this fact.

So the book is wrong to condemn this sentence unless it explains why the speaker needs to say if the arguments are for or against.

  • Though as Jeffery notes, it's not well written, as it says that "arguments regulate something", which is probably not what the speaker intendes.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 10:10

You must log in to answer this question.

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