We have only one trainer. We need more capable trainers.

Our trainers don't know what they are doing. We need more capable trainers.

The meaning of "more capable trainers" changes completely in the two examples above. In the first, "more" modifies "capable trainers", in the second, "more" modifies "capable". Why is this one sentence completely dependent on the preceding one?

Is it possible write either interpretation unambiguously (also without the preceding sentences)?

  • 1
    You can easily rephrase it to say "a larger number of capable trainers" or "trainers who are more capable".
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


In speech, this would usually not be ambiguous (more stress would be put on either "capable" or "more").

Writing is a technology to represent speech, but it often fails to capture all the details.

So, in speech, the one sentence would not be "completely dependent on the preceding one", but in writing some extra information may need to be provided to resolve the ambiguity.

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