Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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3answers
21 views

“I ate a hamburger twice” and ambiguity

Does “I ate a hamburger twice” mean two meanings? I ate the same hamburger. I ate the two hamburgers. I ate half of a hamburger, and I ate half of another hamburger. Can I express this as "I ...
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1answer
20 views

rather a + adj + noun

When the noun is preceded by an adjective both rather a (more typical of British English) and a rather are found. When a rather is used, rather qualifies only the adjective, whereas with rather a it ...
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2answers
37 views

“A knife cut in half” [closed]

“A knife cut in half” can mean? A knife was cut in half. (to undergo incision or severance) A knife cut something in half. (to perform the operation of dividing, severing, incising, or intersecting)
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3answers
61 views

Is this sentence intricate for a native speaker? Is it clear which items are located where? [closed]

I am writing for an IELTS practice test. The question is to describe the changes that is going to be done in an airport. Grammerly marks the following sentence as intricate! I am curious to know if it ...
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1answer
42 views

Meaning of the word 'figure' in “The figures involved are truly very large.”?

The figures involved are truly very large. I read it from the Collins Dictionary definition of "large" Meaning 2: A large amount or number of people or things is more than the average ...
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0answers
20 views

what is the purpose of reducing an adjective clause

If we come across an adjective phrase reduced from an adjective clause, how could we know in what tense the participle, so-called a non-finite verb, takes place? for instance: Yesterday I met a man ...
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2answers
35 views

ellipsis: [the people too]

Does "the people too" in the following mean the council hates the people too? Or the people hates the place too? Go to almost any city and you find sink estates where you get the feeling ...
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1answer
22 views

Does ‘for the first time’ have two meanings? [closed]

He made a robot for the first time. The other made a robot earlier than he, but he made a robot for the first time of his life. He is the first person who made a robot, and nobody made a robot before....
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32 views

Plural and singular nouns after preposition 'of' in grammar explanation resources

I have read a few explanations about how to use nouns in sentences. I found two common versions of the explanations. Nouns can be used as subjects of sentences. reference1 / reference2 Nouns can be ...
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1answer
38 views

Are there any rules for placing a noun after a preposition?

I still cannot master which form of nouns (singular or plural) should be placed before and after the preposition "of". For example, if I want to refer to one book of each student, which one ...
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1answer
35 views

as little sensitive as possible

a. I gave them as little sensitive information as possible. Can't that sentence be read in two ways? I think little could be modifying sensitive or information, so I see two possible readings: The ...
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1answer
645 views

Meaning of “boiling water” in cooking instructions

When the phrase "boiling water" is used in cooking instructions, does it mean "water that is fit for the purpose of boiling" (similar to the use of "cooking oil") or &...
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1answer
45 views

‘I weirdly affected my friend’

Can ‘I weirdly affected my friend’ not only mean ‘I affected my friend in a weird way,’ but also ‘I made a weird effect on my friend’?
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0answers
12 views

How should I order the sentence with “noun clause” and “wh clause”?

I hope that all of you have a nice day. When the subject is a bit long, we can use "it" as the representative of the "that-noun clause". What if the object or subject complement is ...
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0answers
34 views

Is ‘I walked a dog slowly’ ambiguous?

Is I walked a dog slowly ambiguous? I played game and at last after 3 hours I made a dog move fast. I walked a dog right away but I made a dog move slowly like a snail.
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2answers
17 views

Negation and ambiguity which leads to two interpretations “I don’t run fast like him”

Can I don’t run fast like him mean he runs fast and he doesn’t run fast both? It’s very confusing to me.
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1answer
54 views

Ferrari engines factory

Does the phrase "Ferrari engines factory" have theoretically two meanings? I think that it can mean either of 1- (Ferrari engines) factory = The factory manufacturing ferrari engines 2- ...
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1answer
37 views

How to interpret a “… of…” structure: “protest of CEOs”?

When Americans notice business and politics mingling in other countries they often see it as a sign of institutional decay, crony capitalism or authoritarianism. Today the mixing of government and ...
2
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3answers
251 views

What does “we learned” mean here?

I am wondering what "we learned" means in the following sentences: I notice Will and Dad sizing each other up surreptitiously. In Dad’s company, oddly, Will seems a little diminished, a ...
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2answers
74 views

How to eliminate ambiguity of “Sisters reunited after ten years in checkout line at Safeway.”?

Background Cited from p. 12 Introduction to Mathematical Thinking by Keith Devlin. Sisters reunited after ten years in checkout line at Safeway Ambiguities in newspaper headlines—which are generally ...
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4answers
57 views

Ambiguity in “I drank water three more times than before”

Suppose I'll be seeing the doctor again after the first appointment and I have noticed one thing: today, I drank water three more times than before, but I believe this sentence is ambiguous in that it ...
0
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0answers
21 views

Ambiguity of ‘I ate food a lot’ [duplicate]

Does I ate food a lot mean ambiguously? I ate a lot of food. I made a lot of chewing, biting or the other action on food.
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1answer
21 views

Yes/no answer on a specific statement

A is 178cm tall, and here is the conversation between A and B. A: I am 180cm tall B: yes/no, that’s nearly true. Are both yes and no acceptable? If not, what does whether yes or no is suitable depend ...
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3answers
52 views

“I employed you as a cook.”

I employed you as a cook. I’m a cook and I employed you I employed you and you are a cook Can you were employed as a cook also be ambiguous like above? Precisely, can it mean I’m a cook and I ...
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1answer
64 views

Is the word Mom here considered as that person's mom or is a person called mom?

Is the word Mom here considered as that person's mom or is a person called mom? Just wait until Mom sees this!
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1answer
23 views

It seems ambiguous to me

Q1. What is "invisible earnings"? I can't find out the meaning or example sentence in my dictionary. Is it some 'profits related to mind or spirit'? Q2. My dictionary says "invisible ...
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0answers
29 views

gave all of us a present

a. Tom gave a present to all of us. b. Tom gave a present to each of us. c. Tom gave a present to every one of us. In which case Tom gave each person a present and in which case He gave one present ...
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2answers
49 views

Is “Should I…?” appropriate here?

Joseph puts a gun to the man's head, and looks to Angelo. Joseph: Should I shoot him? Joseph is basically asking: Do you want me to kill him? - Is that conveyed through "Should I shoot him?"...
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1answer
18 views

the reason he left the country

a. The reason he left the country was not to deal with this problem. Is that sentence ambiguous? I see two possible meanings: The reason he left the country wasn't to deal with this problem. The ...
0
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2answers
31 views

'Hold him' and 'hold his hand'

If I hold someone's hand, I can express it as 'I hold him.' Then, how can I exactly describe I only hold someone's hand, not the other parts of his body? Is just saying 'I hold his hand' enough?
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1answer
21 views

all those who were overweight and not agile

a. All those who were overweight and not agile were exempted from participating. b. All those who were overweight, and not agile, were exempted from participating. Which should be used if the ...
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1answer
133 views

“She is my only friend” or “she is my friend only” - place of “only”

I have a female friend called Alice (fake name). Someone else asked me if she is my girlfriend. I want to tell them that she is not my girlfriend but only friend. By "only" I want to mean ...
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2answers
22 views

when he was under the influence of

a. A discussion of his behavior when he was under the influence of medications was helpful to him. b. A discussion of his behavior, when he was under the influence of medications, was helpful to him. ...
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1answer
32 views

more greasy food

a. I eat more greasy food than he does. Is that sentence ambiguous? I think it could mean I eat food that is more greasy than he food he eats. and I eat a bigger amount of greasy food than he does. ...
0
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1answer
53 views

In this comparison, how, according to the writer, does Latin relate to French rap? [duplicate]

The Arabic of “Frozen” is frozen in time, as “localized” to contemporary Middle Eastern youth culture as Latin quatrains in French rap. — Translating “Frozen” Into Arabic by Elias Muhanna Please ...
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2answers
76 views

Differences between “English novel” and “novel in English”

Is there a difference between "English novel" and "novel in English"? Needless to say, what it's at stake are two aspects: the language of the novel, and its country of origin. To ...
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1answer
49 views

Which word is “they” referring to?

Which word is they referring to in the following sentence? Children make circles because they are perfect. Is it referring to Children or circles? And why?
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1answer
15 views

employed 20 workers last week

I am not sure if "to employ" means "to have someone on the payroll" or "to put someone on the payroll." Is it ambiguous? Consider the following sentence: The company ...
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0answers
8 views

What does “leading” imply here?

"He was a leading spirit in the conference." Does the statement infer that the subject was leading as if an influential or in a mere literal sense?
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1answer
15 views

meaning of “not for today only”

I heard, "The store will be having a sale, not for today only" What does "not for today only" mean in this sentence? Does the "only" modify "not for today" or ...
0
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1answer
30 views

twice I married a French woman

a. Twice, I almost married a French woman. b. I almost married a French woman twice. Do those imply that it was the same woman? Do those imply that I married a French woman once and almost had a ...
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2answers
34 views

dated two women in two cities

a. He dated two women in New York and Los Angeles. b. He dated two women, in New York and Los Angeles. c. He dated two women in New York and in Los Angeles. d. He dated two women, in New York and in ...
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0answers
16 views

How should I interpret this ambiguous sentence?

I came across the following ambiguous sentence that I don't know how to interpret: The student completed more than one program from an eligible DLI within 2 years Context: an international student ...
2
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2answers
88 views

“X increases with Y”

I wonder how do native speakers interpret the following sentences. Are they ambiguous? Is Y decreasing or increasing in the following examples (1-4)? The strength of X increases with Y. The strength ...
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0answers
35 views

I sent “ballistic” in official meeting and I am from the middle east!

First I am not a native english speaker Today there was a meeting with the tech hardware department where i work One of that department suggested that I should have another meeting with the title of &...
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1answer
39 views

Does the word “apparent” have ambiguity?

I'm learning the word "apparent" which has two apparently different meanings: (1) obvious (2) looks true, but not. How do people solve the ambiguity here? For example, republicans could ...
1
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1answer
902 views

“for only” vs. “only for”

I'm confused about how a placement of "only" can change the meaning of a sentence. A real life text from the document I'm working on: If possible, use the shorthand syntax: # for an ID, . ...
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0answers
25 views

there is no question of . .

The noun "question" has two meanings: "doubt" and "possibility." I'd like to know when "There is no question of . . ." has one meaning but not the other.
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1answer
30 views

“X do not have an alternative” - whether X a thing/situation or a person who makes a descision?

Whether to use a plus sign or an open block for list continuations is up to you. However, since open blocks cannot be nested, it is better to preserve them for those cases where they do not have an ...
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2answers
92 views

Are parts of speech sharply defined categories? Can a single word be included in different parts of speech?

I have been trying to figure out how words are categorized into parts of speech. The way I understand it, words can only be included into various parts of speech depending on their meaning and usage ...

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