Questions tagged [ambiguity]

This tag is for questions about the multiple meanings of a word, or phrase.

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0
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1answer
72 views

were “the cylindrical wooden fastenings” horizontal or vertical?what does “wrenching asunder” mean?

were "the cylindrical wooden fastenings" horizontal or vertical? how can i imagine it? what does "wrenching asunder" mean? (...)The parts broken were at least five feet removed ...
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2answers
38 views

Does “it is true” and “is quite customary” refer to “explanation”?

Does "it is true" and "is quite customary" refer to "explanation"? and what does it mean? does it mean the "explanation" is both "true" and "...
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1answer
34 views

“I'm caught by the tail.” (I = a tiger) Does the wordplay work? Is it ambiguous?

"catch/have a tiger by the tail" is an idiom we all know. I'm writing some quotes for a character, who is a tiger. Can the tiger say "I'm caught by the tail"? The sentence somewhat ...
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1answer
3 views

Correct future tense of flying

By ear I feel that the answer is "I'm going to fly", but the more I think about it and the more I see "will fly" to Paris as a legitimate option as well, can you guys help me out ...
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1answer
12 views

when he was fouled

a. It wasn't only Tom who was furious when he was fouled. I was too. b. Tom wasn't the only one who was furious when he was fouled. I was too. Could those be used if the intended meaning is Tom was ...
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0answers
15 views

Adjective noun and use of AND

“Blue shirt and pants“ Does this grammatically mean: A blue shirt and blue pants or a blue shirt and ALL colors of pants? And if known, why is that the answer and what is the rule here?
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1answer
34 views

Why does Crookes want to “avoid inquiry” despite “pursuit of truth”?

Why does Crookes want to "avoid inquiry" despite "pursuit of truth"? It's a bit confusing. He writes: "It argues ill for the boasted freedom of opinion among scientific men that they have so ...
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14answers
4k views

How can I avoid ambiguity in the sentence “I cut the middle of the hose”?

How do I describe exactly in what way this hose was cut? We have at least two ways to cut a hose in the middle. To simplify it, I'll use a bottle as an example. 1) Cutting the hose from the opening. ...
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1answer
38 views

When using “until”, is the time mentioned inclusive or exclusive? [duplicate]

Examples: "I'm going to study until 8PM" Is he going to stop studying at 8PM sharp or 8:01PM? "I'm not going to study until 8PM" Is he going to start studying at 8PM sharp or 8:01PM? "I'm working ...
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2answers
25 views

Distinguishing between subject and object of sentence when the clause seems ambiguous

Looking past the literal meaning of the sentence; I'm struggling to identify which is the true subject and object in the following sentence. "The mother beats up her daughter because she was drunk." ...
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1answer
40 views

Conflicting feedback on my paraphrase: “on the grounds that X should be shared with Y” = “so that X [would/could] be shared with Y”

This is not a question about the meaning of "could" and "would". This is a question about which word fits the context. I got conflicting remarks on my paraphrase of a few sentences. I am not sure ...
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3answers
66 views

How to remove the ambiguity in this sentence?

Let's see a dialogue between a father and a son : (1) Son : Dad, I've got the job. Father : I know you didn't get the job because of your qualification. It's due to the recommendation of the ...
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21 views

some confusing expressions with number

When I want to express one of the series in harry potter, which one is better? ex) Third episode is my favorite among whole series. Third episode/ episode three Are all of them can be used? If not, ...
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0answers
36 views

“The way” vs “how”?

'The way' and 'how' are not used together. I know the way how he did it. (Incorrect). I know the way he did it. (Correct) Or, I know how he did it. (Correct) But "I know the reason why he did ...
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1answer
22 views

Instead of be or instead of being?

I know after 'instead of' verb-ing is used. But I have found a sentence : "My father wants me to be bold instead of be cautious". Is it correct? Can we use 'instead of being cautious' in the ...
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2answers
25 views

Difference in meaning : [duplicate]

These are a defining and a non-defining relative clause :- (A) He deleted the picture that upset me.  (B) He deleted the picture, which upset me. Could you please explain the difference ...
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1answer
44 views

Connective preposition or subordinate conjunction?

I know that a Subordinating Conjunction or a subordinator serves as a marker for the Subordinate Clause : Other children are annoyed because John raises his hand constantly. Here 'because John ...
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1answer
48 views

What is 'but' in “nothing but”?

"It did nothing but make us ridiculous." It means : "It did nothing but It did make us ridiculous." Here, 'but' seems to be a conjunction. But I know, 'but' is a preposition (meaning 'except') in ...
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2answers
29 views

what is the meaning of “Smiling upon”?

what is the meaning of "Smiling upon"? Mr. Somes said: "Mr. President, would it be improper for me to inquire whether there has been any pressure brought to bear upon you to defer the enforcement of ...
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1answer
19 views

Possible ambiguity in “In addition to the 3 main reasons, there is a 4th reason that has not been widely cited”

I am wondering if my sentence is ambiguous. In addition to the three main arguments, there is a fourth argument that, although important, has not been widely cited. The "three main arguments" are ...
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3answers
47 views

Why do people sometimes confuse when to use 'will' and 'would'?

For instance, I've heard quite a lot of people saying that "I would go" when they should be pertaining to use "I will go". Is this because colloquials have perpetuated the language; tainting the ...
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1answer
28 views

what is the meaning of “assert their claims to be considered sane” and “reduced to the limits of ruin”?

what is the meaning of "assert their claims to be considered sane" and "reduced to the limits of ruin"? This has been a long but necessary digression from the account of the early days of ...
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1answer
36 views

what is the meaning of “lie upon the table” here? does “the belief held by the petitioners” means “the petitioners believed that it was a delusion”?

what is the meaning of "lie upon the table" here? does "the belief held by the petitioners" means "the petitioners believed that it was a delusion"? In April, 1854, the Hon. James Shields presented ...
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1answer
21 views

When not “all” neither “some” is stated, what is implied?

For example, in sentence "Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries." is it implied that ALL multinational companies do that, or that SOME ...
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1answer
25 views

does “revolving the disc” caused by “attachments” or “sliding the table”? what is the meaning of “follow” here?

does "revolving the disc" caused by "attachments" or "sliding the table"? what is the meaning of "follow" here? Mr. S. B. Brittan, editor of The Spiritual Telegraph, gives the following condensed ...
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0answers
14 views

isn't efficient as you claimed

a. This device isn't efficient as you claimed. b. This device isn't efficient**,** as you claimed. Which of the above sentences could be used instead of each of the following: Unlike what you ...
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1answer
35 views

does “town” and “city” are the same place in this context?

does "town" and "city" are the same place in this context? i mean. does the "city" refers to the mentioned "town"? This drives him to the consideration of whether these things may not be ...
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2answers
63 views

Why does the author say the information was “correct” but after that he says “the information was wrong”?

Why does the author say the information was "correct" but after that he says "the information was wrong"? Does it means that the information of the letter was wrong but she spelled them out? What ...
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4answers
999 views

“May” meaning in biblical/religious language

I have learned that in the biblical language, in religion or for prayer "may" is used to express a wishful benediction. As in the following examples: May God bless you. May your children ...
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1answer
25 views

Is there a difference in meanig between “as someone told you to” and “as someone told you”

a. You didn't come home late last night, as your Dad told you to. b. You didn't come home late last night, as your Dad told you. Do these mean: Your Dad told you to come home late last ...
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2answers
42 views

What does this sentence mean? “there are few who would not…”

This is a sentence taken from a textbook on translation: (Original sentence) Aside from abnormally lazy people, there would be very few who would not want to earn more than the minimum. The ...
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0answers
10 views

Is this reported sentence ambiguous?

A: Are you a politician? B: No, I'm not a politician. When we report the B's reply as: B replied negatively that he was not a politician., is the sentence ambiguous - whether B denied the fact ...
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0answers
202 views

“did you attend” or “were you able to attend”, when to use which?

This post is derived from another one/. They might need to merge. Let's say Michael had mentioned that he were trying to reschedule another appointment in order to attend a meeting yesterday. I ...
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1answer
32 views

Confusion in pronoun

What is the best way to avoid confusion of pronouns? For example, see the following sentence: When Anne’s grandmother died she lit an extra candle for her on her birthday. Here it is very ...
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1answer
26 views

How to describe a noun standing before the last word with 'which'?

I have a sentence: "I lived in the southern city of Kazakhstan, which is surrounded by mountains." In this sentence, it looks like that is Kazakhstan is surrounded by mountains. However, I wanted to ...
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1answer
24 views

trace the route

Is "trace the route" in the following ambiguous between a finger-moving action and actual driving, walking, or otherwise moving along a route in the real world? John traced the route on the map. I'...
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0answers
30 views

There's no question of something

The banks have made it clear that there's no question of customers losing their credit status in light of the recent mortgage rate scandal. According to the dictionary: there's no question of (...
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2answers
34 views

Distinguishing present from future in a conditional sentence

Consider the following sentences, used in an email message: I'm going to be on vacation next week. If you need anything, call me. It could mean If you need anything now, call me, because next ...
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1answer
46 views

How to differentiate between a singular noun’s possession and its plural one in spoken English

In spoken English if for example: someone says “cars tires” then how to know if the speaker is talking about car’s tires or cars’ tires. Because the pronunciation is same for both.
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2answers
38 views

What to say when we put the dishes on the table for people to eat after cooking?

OK, after cooking food, we have to put the dishes on the table for people to eat. set 1 /set/ verb (past tense and past participle set, present participle setting) 1 PUT [...
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1answer
23 views

Sentence structure ambiguity

I lower myself to show humbleness. I lower myself, in order to show my humbleness. To lower oneself is a way of showing humbleness, and I lower myself. I don't lower myself to show humbleness. I ...
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2answers
65 views

About “AND” Which one is correct? And Why?

How can I understand the sentence below? My best friend and my father’s father both come from Wales. Which one of these is correct? And Why? A. My best friend and my father's father (...
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2answers
569 views

Possible ambiguities when using “home” as an adverb? (study home, write home…)

I'm aware of the adverbialization of the word "home" in English. I go home. I read letters at home/home. But in what kind of sentences could we find that home and at home can't be interchangeable? (...
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4answers
1k views

Ambiguity - Should it be “mindful of committing logical fallacies” or “mindful of not committing logical fallacies”?

From Collins, If you are mindful of something, you think about it and consider it when taking action. When I am writing, I am always mindful of committing logical fallacies (e.g., red herring, ...
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1answer
230 views

on both sides/on the two sides

a. The conflict claimed about two hundred lives on all sides. b. The conflict claimed about two hundred lives on the three sides. Do those mean all in all there were two hundred lives lost or ...
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2answers
46 views

“Prior to the 1980s” does it include the 1980s or not?

High pollution was observed prior to the 1980s. Which period does 'Prior to the 1980s' refer to, 1)include, 2)partially include, 3)exclude the period of the 1980s?
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1answer
48 views

He is getting to be a naughty boy

When "get" is followed by an infinitive, it means "manage" or "have an opportunity". He is getting to be a naughty boy. It means "he manages to be a naughty boy" or "he has an opportunity to be ...
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5answers
6k views

Is “Ram married his daughter” ambiguous?

Ram married his daughter is ambiguous because: Marry means marry somebody to become a spouse. The second meaning is perform the marriage ritual as a priest. So, if Ram is a priest he can marry his ...
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2answers
87 views

He left her a widow

He left her a widow. I think this sentence is ambiguous. The possible meanings are: 1. He died and she became a widow. 2. He kept a widow in her care. Could you please analyze the sentences and ...
2
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1answer
39 views

When do “empty” and “full” require another adjective to remove the possible ambiguity?

Does "full" and "empty" always mean "completely" full and empty? Isn't it ambiguous to say: The variable X represent the weight of the container when it is full. when we are talking about the ...

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