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  1. Have you ever met a prettier girl than Rose ?

I'm aware that it usually means 1a, but could it mean 1b:

1a. Have you ever met a prettier girl than Rose (is)?
1b. Have you ever met a prettier girl than Rose has (ever met)?

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  • If you mean 1b, you have to use 1b.
    – Lambie
    Apr 28, 2023 at 16:15

1 Answer 1

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This is another example of syntactic ambiguity with no pragmatic ambiguity.

Although your second sense seems possible based on simple grammar rules, there is actually no possibility of it being understood like that in context. The additional context is that "Rose" is a girl so the comparison is with Rose as a girl, rather than Rose being a girl.

But change the context:

I've never met a prettier girl than John.

It's suddenly a weird thing to say because the only possible meanings are "than John has", or "John is a girl" both of which are unlikely. John is not normally given to girls, and how would you know (or care) about how pretty the girls that John has met?

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