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When I have two meetings: one at 1pm and the other at 3pm, which one is more appropriate?

  1. I have (two) meetings at 1pm and 3pm.
  2. I have a meeting at 1pm and 3pm.
  • Your first option is actually two options (I have meetings at 1pm and 3pm and I have two meetings at 1pm and 3pm). You should have asked the question with three choices. – 200_success Sep 22 '14 at 7:58
2

I prefer the second one, but rephrased slightly.

I have a meeting at 1pm, and then another at 3pm.

No ambiguity here!

0

The second one is more clear. The first is fine but is slightly more likely to be misinterpreted.

  • How could "I have meetings at 1pm and 3pm" be misinterpreted? – Jim Sep 22 '14 at 2:01
  • @Jim I'll understand that each time slot has more than one meeting! That's how. – Maulik V Sep 22 '14 at 4:19
  • Highly doubtful. If the speaker's intent was to point out that he was already double-booked for those timeslots, he'd be much more likely to say, "I've already got two meetings scheduled for 1pm and two more at 3." And if his point is just to say that he's busy during those timeslots then it doesn't really matter which of the several meetings he's got scheduled he will attend so the ambiguity is irrelevant. I routinely say, "I've got meetings at 1pm and 3pm" and no one has ever misinterpreted my statements. – Jim Sep 22 '14 at 4:28
  • @Jim I've two cars at office and at home will certainly bring in an ambiguity of having four cars. On the other hand, what StorymasterQ and I believe - I have one car at office and one at home or I have two cars *(pause) -one at office and one at home* is straight and clear. – Maulik V Sep 22 '14 at 4:32
  • I agree, but that's a completely different case. – Jim Sep 22 '14 at 4:33
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Both can be said but to avoid the ambiguity, you need to have a pause while telling the first sentence. Or in writing, you may add a 'dash'.

I have (two) meetings (pause) --at 1 pm and at 3 pm.

With no pause, it MAY convey the message that you have two meetings at 1 pm and two meetings at 3 pm.

I can think of an another example in similar context -

I have two cars at home and (at) office

This, to my ears, brings in an ambiguity of having four cars.

But...

I have two cars (pause) --at home and at office OR I have a car at home and another at office.

will mean two cars in total -one at office and one at home.

[However, it's quite obviously understood that one cannot have two meetings at the same time but above, I talked about English and not intellect!]

Also consider StoryMasterQ's opinion. It's straight and good (+1).

Your second option is also fine as it talks about one meeting at 1 pm and one more meeting at 3 pm.

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