Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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7
votes
4answers
886 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

why there is contradiction between “to give professional sittings” and “not give séances as a professional medium”?

why there is contradiction between "to give professional sittings" and "not give séances as a professional medium"? at first the author says that Mr. Livermore helped her to give professional ...
-1
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0answers
30 views

A football match report

He injured the captain, scoring two goals before half-time. Please help me explaining the meaning of the sentences or phrase I'm confused who actually scored the goals the captain or He himself?
0
votes
1answer
22 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
38 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
30 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 ...
-1
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
22 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'...
0
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0answers
20 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 (...
1
vote
2answers
33 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
44 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.
0
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2answers
34 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 [...
0
votes
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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
64 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 (...
7
votes
2answers
561 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? (...
6
votes
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, ...
0
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
34 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?
0
votes
1answer
44 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 ...
24
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
73 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

it was six months away

a. It was six months away from his graduation from college. b. It was six months from his graduation from college. c. He was six months away from graduating from college. d. He was six ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

“is written” (single or habitual action, tense choice)

Let's consider the sentence containing the phrase "is written": How this word is written? Does this phrase mean Single action: a concrete situation, how the word was written once by someone? ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

“Helped with the algorithm” vs “Helped to implement the algorithm”

Let's say I helped my colleague to implement some algorithm (in C# programming language, for example. He didn't know how to write it and I explained that to him). And now I'm writing a daily report: ...
1
vote
1answer
332 views

What is the meaning of “worn” in “There was a little path worn”

Meaning of "worn" in the context below So quiet did it seem and so lonely, that almost one might think that nothing but the wild red deer, or his fierce enemy the slinking wolf, had ever walked ...
-1
votes
1answer
59 views

aside from his financial situation

a. Aside from his financial situation, he has a lot to be grateful for. b. Aside from his financial situation, he has a lot of other things to be grateful for. c. Aside from his financial ...
34
votes
6answers
13k views

Can fluent English speakers distinguish between “steel”, “still”, and “steal”?

Can fluent English speakers understand this sentence the first time they hear it? What? They still steal steel? Can they hear a difference between the pronunciation of the words still, steal, and ...
2
votes
1answer
12 views

Does the phrase “fit in” make sense to non-native English speakers?

I was planning to use the expression "fit in" in a presentation -- as in "how do you fit in [to the group]?" The audience will include people who speak English as a second language. There will be a ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Ambiguity, accusing someone on social media or threating someone on social media?

Ocasio-Cortez has accused CBP agents of making threats to her life on social media — saying a “secret Facebook group” of 9,500 officers discussed making a GoFundMe to harm her and the other Dems ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

until now - ambiguity?

The Longman Dictionary has the following sentence: Until now, doctors have been able to do very little to treat this disease. Does it mean that doctors are still able to do very little to treat ...
0
votes
3answers
37 views

The meaning of more than in mathematics

In a mathematical question it is stated as follows. On Monday I sold 15 cows and today 5 more than on Monday. How many did I sell today? The question is one of ambiguity. Does 5 more refer to a ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

I received a gift from my sister who just got back from

If I don’t use a comma before the word who in this sentence below, then would it imply that I have more than one sister (supposing the speaker had only one sister)? I received a gift from my sister ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Can “a one” be an unambiguous substitution of “a [noun]”?

I want to use "a one" in the following sentence to refer to a single coat: I heard that coats were invented for this reason and therefore wearing a one will surely keep you warm. Does "one" take ...
4
votes
2answers
354 views

He is the first man to arrive here

He is the first man to arrive here. I'm confused what this sentence means. I think it could mean either of the options below according to context, like He is the first man who is going to arrive ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

What does the word “them” signify here?

Here is a sentence from a schedule planner app: In the app, you can easily group to-dos into projects and drag tasks within and between them. I am not sure if the word "them" is used here for "...
2
votes
3answers
21 views

Having problem comprehending “need to be used occasionally”

I cannot understand the exact meaning of this sentence in the following: Remember, too, that the words "I love you, I like being in a relationship with you. ..." are not demands and need to be said ...
0
votes
3answers
47 views

Is “should be” talking about the past or the present or the future?

Not sure who’s working but this should be resolved. Does that should be resolved part mean (1) that it has already been resolved in the past, or (2) that he is expecting or needing it to be resolved ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

How to reference previously mentioned words without ambiguity?

There are TV programmes produced by the Ministry of Education for high school students, and (1) they \ students can attend (2) these lectures remotely without traveling to schools. Assuming you are a ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

infinitive clause ambiguity

We need him to accomplish this task. Is this an ambiguous sentence? I think the possible interpretations are: 1: We can't accomplish this task without him/We need him in order to accomplish this ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

very soft and sweet

a. The fruit I tasted was very soft and sweet. It seems to me that (a) is ambiguous. It could mean The fruit I ate was very soft and very sweet. or The fruit I tasted was very soft and it was also ...
2
votes
2answers
37 views

A boy didn't read every book

In my opinion, "A boy didn't read every book"is ambiguous, it can express"a boy didn't read any book" or "Not every book were read by the boy".Am I right?
2
votes
3answers
57 views

claim one's autonomy

Is the phrase "claim one's autonomy" ambiguous? Could it mean "say one deserves autonomy" and "achieve or gain one's autonomy"? Suppose someone said the following: The teenager claimed his ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

What is the meaning of “to work part time and summers”?

I want to know the exact meaning of "to work part time and summers". Does this mean someone works part time through the year and works full time in summer? Or does this mean he works part-time only in ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

three times each

a. On three occasions, three firemen came to our bar. b. Three times, three firemen came to our bar. c. Three firemen came to our bar on three occasions. d. Three firemen came to ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

There was a farmer had a dog, but which one was named Bingo?

There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o. From these words alone (so, without appealing to different versions, translations, likelihoods of names, etc.), is there some way to decide ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

How to avoid ambiguity of the antecedent of a relative clause?

I wrote this technical text, which I found ambiguous: What's a child expression? It's a call expression inside a function, which represents a parent call expression. For the purposes of ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Most likely interpretation of parents' “anniversary”?

When someone says it's their parents' anniversary, does "anniversary" by default mean wedding anniversary, or do English speakers by default consider "anniversary" vague, requiring clarification like ...

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