Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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Is this sentence ambiguous? "He told me when to leave."

"He told me when to leave." At first sight, I interpreted this sentence as " He told me when I should leave." in case "told" means 'to order." However, at a second ...
0 votes
1 answer
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for three thousand dollars

Have you ever turned down job offers? a. Yes. If I don't like a job, I won't take it. I have turned down many job offers. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I turned down one for three thousand dollars a ...
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-1 votes
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The meaning of ( would you find something welcome)

I want to know what the below sentence may mean: I am wondering if you find ….. welcome. Does it necessarily mean that the other person is offering something or just asking for an opinion?
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0 votes
1 answer
22 views

as our enemies are joining forces

a. As our enemies are joining forces, so should we. b. We should join forces as our enemies are. c. We should join forces, as our enemies are. Which could mean We should join forces because our ...
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0 votes
2 answers
29 views

How to identify ambiguous sentence?

'The theoretical arguments regulating home schooling begin from this point.' I have no idea why this sentence is ambiguous. Although the answer says 'It leaves the reader guessing whether the ...
0 votes
2 answers
29 views

doesn't know if one of his neighbors

a. He doesn't know if someone has entered his apartment in his absence. b He doesn't know if a neighbor has entered his apartment in his absence. c. He doesn't know if one of his neighbors has entered ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Is “When you exit the gate, on the right hand side, a homeless person is there” a well formed sentence?

Settling a debate about the following sentence: “When you exit the gate, on the right hand side, a homeless person is there.” The sentence was spoken verbally, if that changes things. I feel that at ...
1 vote
1 answer
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Why "It was a secret, of which no one knows." ⇏ "No one of this secret knows."?

[2iii] It was a secret, of which no one knows. ​= [2iv] No one knows of this secret. (NOT: No one of this secret knows.) In his answer above, why did Damkerng T. eliminate No one of this secret ...
2 votes
1 answer
30 views

didn't know that one of my friends was

a. She didn't know that one of my friends was a policeman. b. She didn't know that two of my friends were policemen. Is it possible that I had other friends who were policemen but she knew about them? ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
30 views

each of us might get fired [closed]

a. Each of us might get fired tomorrow. b. We might each get fired tomorrow. ================ c. All of us might get fired tomorrow. d. We might all get fired tomorrow. =================== e. Every ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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How to interpret this movie title: "Live is Life"?

There is a Netflix title: "Live is Life". I can't wrap my head around it. Would that be something like: 1 - "to live means life"? OR 2 - "energic is the life"?
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1 answer
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repetitive actions: present perfect or present perfect continuous?

I have a question about repetitive actions. I've read in many books and article that we use Present Perfect for repetitive actions. like: I have eaten squid 3 times. but today, when I was reading ...
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1 answer
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Pete's and Tom's computers

a. Pete's and Tom's computers were stolen. Could the sentence be used if each had one computer? Could the sentence be used if one had one computer and the other had more? Could the sentence be used if ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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his guests would notice it

a. Jeff's friends went to Sally's place and talked to her father. Does that necessarily mean all of Jeff's friends went to Sally's place and talked to her father? b. I knew that if I gave the flash ...
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1 vote
3 answers
34 views

a priest and a historian

a. He was the son of a priest and a historian. Could one use that sentence if his one of his parents was both a priest and a historian? Or would that have to be b. He was the son of a priest and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Ambiguity in sentence

Can different phrases be related to a same noun, modifying it and how to avoid ambiguity? E.g I remember man playing guitar that (this clause is related to "man", not "guitar") ...
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3 answers
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How to find the correct form of verb in ambiguous subjects.?

Neelima, my best friend / and the Head of this department / are leaving / on Monday./no error I came across this sentence in my exam, I couldn't figure out if the head of this department and Neelima ...
-1 votes
1 answer
30 views

What is the difference between a sentence starting with “the percentage” vs only a percentage?

Do these two sentences have the same meaning? “98% of people who know about Hippos would agree that they’re the deadliest land animal “The 98% of people who know about hippos would agree that they’...
0 votes
2 answers
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Adjectives and ambiguity in meaning

Read the following sentence: The lazy people of our family like this car. Does the word "lazy" in the phrase "the lazy people of our house" only refer to the group of people that ...
0 votes
1 answer
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they only care about themselves

These people only care about themselves. Is this sentence ambiguous? Each of them cares for himself or herself They care about themselves as a group and take care of each other. I'd think it would ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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how good is your relationship with them?

How many of your high school friends are you still in touch with and how good is your relationship with them? Is the above sentence grammatical and meaningful? Does 'them' refer to 'your high school ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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told me about the way

a. He told me how he was arrested. b. He told me about how he was arrested. c. He told me the way he was arrested. d.He told me about the way he was arrested. I know (a) could have two meanings. It ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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in "its battery pack restricted cargo space", is the battery or cargo space limited?

Please help me with this one especially because it's stressing me out big time. The text goes: "The vehicle was the second mass-produced hybrid on the American market, after the two seat Honda ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of the word "posting" in this sentence?

One form, the OSHA no. 200 serves a dual purpose. it is used as the Log of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, on which the occurrence and extent of cases are recorded during the year and as the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Can something be incomplete without starting something first?

I'm just curious about this word. The definition of incomplete is: not having all the necessary or appropriate parts. not full or finished.
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is 'got' ambiguous in this example?

A woman is talking on the phone with her ex-husband: "All I know right now is that I got two crying kids home Saturday who told me they didn't want to see you again, OK?" The ex-husband had ...
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9 votes
7 answers
3k views

In the sentence "The table was set for lunch" is "set" a verb or an adjective?

The table was set for lunch I want to see if this is a passive sentence. I think if the word "set" is a verb it is passive, but if “set” is an adjective it would be an active one.
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Meaning of 'Last but not the least' in Google dictionary

I searched the phrase Last but not the least in Google. Google dictionary shows the meaning last in order of mention or occurrence but not of importance Shouldn't it be: last in order of mention or ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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"I want my photograph taken" or "I want to have my photograph taken"?

I am reading the story With the photographer written by Stephen Leacock (he was native speaker). The story is given online here. In the beginning, he says I want my photograph taken. Shouldn't this ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What's the meaning of " wildness" in this context? Could it mean our nature/essence that we were born with?

. He tried to shape in his mind what he had to say to McDonald. It was a feeling; it was an urge that he had to speak. But whatever he spoke he knew would be but another name for the wildness that he ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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have to be careful

a. It is something that you have to be careful to notice. I suppose one meaning of (a) is: You have to be careful and notice that thing. But could it also mean If you notice that, then that means ...
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2 votes
2 answers
39 views

to deal with matters related with insurance

a. We have an accountant in our company to deal with matters related to insurance. b. In our company, we have an accountant to deal with matters related to insurance. c. We have an accountant to deal ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Wasn't simply a case of negligence

a. The management says that the fire started because a technician was negligent. But it wasn't only a case of a technician being negligent. The whole system was flawed. b. The management says that the ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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can do it in any manner

a. I can do it in any manner. I think that means that I can do it in all possible ways. b, I doubt you can do it in any manner. It seems to me that (b) is ambiguous. It could mean I doubt you can do ...
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0 votes
2 answers
37 views

do the work anyway [closed]

a. You will have to do the work anyway. I think here 'anyway' means 'in any case', but could it also mean 'in any manner you can'? Is the sentence ambiguous?
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0 votes
2 answers
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"earn" and its ambiguity direct object

I earn my living by fighting on arena for many years as gladiator. There is some ambiguity in this sentence. In my opinion it convey two different meanings: 1. I earn (money/and so on) for my living ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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drank wine or whiskey

a. The guests drank wine or whiskey. b. The guests drank either wine or whiskey. Are the above sentences ambiguous? I think they could be used in these two cases: They all drank one of the two Some ...
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0 votes
2 answers
54 views

Issues identifying the subject of a text

I was talking with some friends in Discord and I wrote this small text to them as follows: A dude was hit by a car right in front of my house. There was so much blood. An Ambulance took him though. I ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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"Apart from": exсlusion or inclusion?

Some people say that apart from means inclusion (example 1), and some say that it means exclusion (example 2). Apart from being a good husband, he is also a good father. It means he is a good husband ...
-3 votes
2 answers
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meaning of "make sense" [closed]

The following sentence is ambiguous. But does it make sense? Someone insists that ambiguous sentences don't make sense. Maybe "make sense" has a special meaning I am not aware of? John saw ...
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1 vote
2 answers
53 views

"My apartment building" - does the entire building belong to the speaker or just the apartment?

If one were to say "I entered my apartment building", does that mean that: the building contains the speaker's apartment (which belongs to him/which he holds on lease); or that the ENTIRE ...
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1 answer
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"Differences between states" is fine, but "differences between provinces and territories" is ambiguous. How to remove ambiguity?

I always seem to fall into the following trap, and I would like to know what's the best way to avoid any ambiguity when comparing between different elements, where said elements belong to different ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How can I make the antecedent more targeted?

We find that two properties of the function that describes A that the recent literature calls B and C play a vital role. For the bolded that, my intended antecedent is "properties", but I ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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needs someone to

a. He needs a wife to overcome his alcoholism. b. He wants a wife to overcome his alcoholism. ============================= c. He needs someone to overcome his alcoholism. d. He wants someone to ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Potentially ambiguous meaning of "take whichever you want"

Let's consider a sentence: Take whichever you want. Does that mean: Take whichever one you want. or Take whichever ones you want. I think the sentence is ambiguous and could be used instead of ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
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“Half-cooked meat” ambiguity [closed]

Can “half-cooked meat” mean that half the meat is cooked and the rest is raw or does it mean that the meat is not cooked enough? Source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/ribeye-steak-beef-on-...
0 votes
1 answer
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“I run out in the cave.”

Can “I run out in the cave” mean both “I run out into the cave” and “I run out of the cave”? For example, “jump on the couch” means “jump onto the couch” and “jump off the couch.”
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3 votes
3 answers
141 views

Can the verb "to impress someone with something" be used in a negative way?

I am quoting from the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Greek Interpreter by Arthur Conan Doyle: His visitor, on entering his rooms, had drawn a life-preserver from his sleeve, and had so impressed him ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Does " I will go at x o'clock," imply I will arrive at said time, or does it imply I will have left for the bar at said time

For example, If I were to say, "I will go to the bar at two o'clock," does it imply I will arrive at said time, or does it imply I will have left for the bar at said time.
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0 votes
1 answer
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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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