1

Example 1

I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games on Sundays.

Does this mean I do all of the activities on a Sunday?

I think there can be cases where "and" is used to indicate a list of activities without implying that all of them are done together or simultaneously. I think it could imply that I might do one or two of the listed activities on a Sunday, but not necessarily all three.

1
  • I eat fried rice, make bread, and, on Sunday, play computer games. I am sure this is the same thing in your language.
    – Lambie
    May 18, 2023 at 15:47

4 Answers 4

2

The list of activities appear to be random; i.e. eating fried rice before making bread, but there's no need for a fixed order of events. In speech, an utterance like that would be totally fine

Does it suggest that the OP does all three things on a Sunday? Yes, that would be my interpretation, and I would interpret them as being consecutive. If the OP wants to say they only do two of these activities regularly they could write:

  1. On Sundays I eat fried rice and make bread, sometimes I play computer games too.

  2. Every Sunday I eat fried rice, make bread or play video games.

  3. I love eating fried rice and making bread, and on Sunday I also play video games.

The speaker does two of these activities throughout the week but plays video games only on a Sunday.

4
  • Why would it be weird to eat fried rice before making bread? This is a list of things done on Sunday. Things may happen in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening.
    – EllieK
    May 18, 2023 at 12:44
  • 1
    @EllieK I was perhaps too hasty. Eating fried rice for me would be lunchtime or the evening while I would always start making bread in the morning, prove it, finish by kneading and then baking the loaf. In any case, the order of events is not important, it just sounded a bit odd talking about eating something hot before making bread. It was presumptuous of me, I'll remove the comment.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 18, 2023 at 15:29
  • @Mari-LouA "Do you going fishing on a Sunday" "No, on a Sunday, I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games." Do you think this might convey that I might just do a combo of the three but not necessarily all three? If I want to make it sound like a list of things that I usually do on a Sunday, maybe I should just say, "No, on a Sunday, I can eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games, but I don't go fishing on a Sunday.
    – vincentlin
    May 18, 2023 at 23:51
  • 1
    @vincentlin If you say "On a Sunday I …" and list threeo or more activities, the listener is going to presume you normally do these activities on any given Sunday. For example; “On Monday I get up at 7 am, have a shower, go shopping, make lunch, then I go to work.” Why would anyone think I do only two or three of these things? So, use words like "usually", "sometimes" and "occasionally" for accuracy "On Monday I usually get up at 7 am, occasionally I have a shower and then I might go shopping if there's nothing in the fridge...."
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 19, 2023 at 18:54
2

It could be understood in different ways.

If one asked "What do you do on Sunday?" the answer "I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games on Sunday" applies to all three. On the other hand if one said "Tell me some things you do every week and something you do on Sunday", then "I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games on Sunday" clearly only applies "on Sunday" to play computer games.

In context, misunderstanding is very unlikely. Sentences don't get meaning only from the sequence of words, but from the question that they are answering, the topic of the conversation and the common or shared knowledge of the speakers.

1
  • Sorry, could you elaborate more? Do you mean that it could imply that I might do one or two of the listed activities on a Sunday, but not necessarily all three?
    – vincentlin
    May 18, 2023 at 6:53
1

Yes, this could imply that you are doing all the activities on Sunday.

If you are only playing computer games on Sunday, you could write the sentence like:

I eat fried rice, make bread, and, on Sundays, play computer games.

5
  • Can my original example mean that on some Sundays, I only eat fried rice and play computer games or I only eat fried rice and make bread? You know, any combination of one or two or all three activities.
    – vincentlin
    May 18, 2023 at 7:32
  • As I told you in response to your previous (deleted) question, if you want to say that you always do all three things you should specify 'every Sunday'. May 18, 2023 at 8:07
  • @KateBunting In summary, my original sentence does not necessarily mean all on a Sunday, am I right?
    – vincentlin
    May 18, 2023 at 23:42
  • "Do you going fishing on a Sunday" "No, on a Sunday, I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games." Just to make it sound like a list of things that I usually do on a Sunday. Maybe I should just say, "No, on a Sunday, I can eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games, but I don't go fishing on a Sunday."
    – vincentlin
    May 18, 2023 at 23:48
  • 1
    It means that you do all those things on some Sundays - it doesn't specify that you do all three every Sunday. May 19, 2023 at 7:53
1

Placement of adverbial phrase. They can go in different spots:

  • I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games on Sundays. [just the last but it is slightly ambiguous.

  • On Sundays, I eat fried rice, make bread, and play computer games.
    [refers to all the activities; no ambiguity]

  • I eat fried rice on Sundays, make bread and play computer games.

  • I eat fried rice, make bread on Sundays, and play computer games.

  • I eat fried rice, make bread and, on Sundays, play computer games.

You must log in to answer this question.

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