The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.

Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0
votes
1answer
412 views

Distinguishing between although and while

What are some circumstances in which "although" and "while" are semantically interchangeable? When are they not?
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How to translate the word “college” from Italian to English

I am Italian and I've lived for a while in the US and I heard a lot of people using the word college as a synonym of university; however in Italy the word college often refers to the place where you ...
0
votes
3answers
161 views

Antecedent of 'whose' in 'to whose extent'? (1834 UK)

Source: p 377, A Treatise on Astronomy, by Sir John F. W. Herschel ... But between that remotest orb and the nearest star there is a gulf fixed, to whose extent no observations yet made have ...
2
votes
2answers
332 views

'To whom it may concern' : What's 'it'?

'To whom it may concern' : I've always thought that it referred to this current writing (directed at the party whom this writing may concern). Am I right? If so, then technically, does it lack an ...
1
vote
3answers
104 views

How to dissect or parse 'ends to which the actions they command are means'?

Source: Hypothetical Imperatives, by Associate Prof Richard McCarty (... MA, PhD, University of Missouri) [I found the author's name at the bottom of 'Source'] Kant introduced a technical term for ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

How to dissect/parse 'a two-horse policy of stimulating renting and owning'?

Foreword: Please beware that I already asked about my angst over 'albeit that' on ELU. Source: p 5 of 16, Where is housing heading?, by Dr Peter Williams. 2014 June What we have seen in recent ...
4
votes
1answer
10k views

What does 'form' mean in grammar?

linguisticsgirl.com: ... In my mind, grammatical *form**(what a word looks like) is clearly separate from grammatical function (what a word does). From ODO: 2.1. Any of the ways in which a word ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Ambiguity between oral and visual definitions of 'observe' and 'remark'?

observe = 1. Notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant 2. {reporting verb} Make a remark remark = 1. {reporting verb} Say something as a comment; mention 2. {with ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How to resolve ambiguous meanings. Especially, “stand” and “stand up”. And, are there alternatives?

1 - How to resolve ambiguity of "stand". First, my main question is how to resolve and work with the ambiguity of the verb "stand". It's ambiguous in a sense that it can mean both "to be in a ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

Omitting a preposition to avoid repetition

What is correct/better? We consider questions related to analysis of real numbers and to probability theory. We consider questions related to analysis of real numbers and probability theory. ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Understanding the CC-BY-ND summary

In the CC-BY-ND human readable summary, there is the sentence Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license , and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any ...
15
votes
6answers
23k views

What's the meaning of “there you go”?

I'm not a native English speaker and always get confused with this expression. For instance: Me: What's the current state of [some subject] discussion? Bob: There is none. It was brought up in ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

“*Our old man* is going shopping to buy something *for dinner*”?

This is rather an easy question, but left me stuck with it. Situation: I'm writing a composition about the reading we studied in our book (as a summary). It's about an illiterate senior citizen who ...
0
votes
1answer
292 views

Ambiguous use of modal verb 'would'?

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shall_and_will#As_past_of_shall_and_will ♦ He left Bath in 1890, and would never return. ♦ (in fact he never returned after that) Seeing as this sentence is ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

“Not positive but pretty sure” meaning [closed]

I got an email and was told something "Not positive but pretty sure" about something. What does it mean? Should I expect a negative/bad news or I should assume that it will be a certain thing? ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Allege Fraud Against

I have a question about the usage of the phrase "allege...against" here: Under the False Claim Act, individuals alleging fraud against the federal government can sue, technically for the ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

meanings of “A of B who” (without comma) and “A of B, who” (with comma)

Q1. If someone says "Bob is a father of a singer who is tall.", can it mean both of the following? Bob is a tall father of a singer. Bob is a father of a tall singer. Q2. If someone says "As a ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

What precisely is an 'art audience'?

Source: An Interview With David Foster Wallace, by Larry McCaffery [David Foster Wallace's answer to Question #2] ...But now realize that tv and popular film and most kinds of “low” art—which just ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

“Until now” ambiguity

The sentence "I haven't received xxx until now!" is a common construction I see in forums but although I understand those posters wanted to express their anxieties (based on the context in the posts) ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

How can I reformulate “A for B based on C” to make it not ambiguous?

I have a title "A for B based on C", but it is ambiguous, as either A or B could be based on C. In my case actually A is based on C. How can I reformulate the sentence to make it not ambiguous?
2
votes
2answers
93 views

Who's the subject of this predicate in this letter? (1575 Late April, UK)

Source: p 101, Lives and letters of the Devereux, earls of Essex, by Walter Bourchier Devereux [p 100 states that this letter was undated, but the penultimate sentence on p99 (ie the last sentence ...
3
votes
2answers
367 views

I feel so sad that we can't talk tonight

Does the sentence mean that I feel very sad and because of that we can't talk tonight or does it mean that I feel very sad because we can't talk tonight? Or can it mean both?
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Comma to resolve ambiguity with relative clause

Does the below sentence make sens from the grammatical point of view ? What you think is important, is very important, is extremly important. the comma "," is as a vehicle to determine the scope of ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

defeated could arises ambiguity in a sentence

Could you think of a sentence where the word defeat or defeated makes an ambiguity?-- that's a situation which you couldn't get whether the word defeated means winning or not? Please feel free to ask ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Meaning of “(assessing) points to nowhere”

A previous question post by a new user was put on hold because five people, incuding me, voted it to be "primarily opinion-based" because (or despite) it asking about one line in a song. Therefore I ...
4
votes
3answers
192 views

3 ambiguous pronouns by Justice Antonin Scalia

Source: *Agency For International Development Et Al. v. Alliance For Open Society International, Inc., Et Al, Justice Scalia's dissent [Start from last para on p 19 of 25 of this PDF.] The First ...
-3
votes
1answer
372 views

Which meaning of 'incident to' ? - 1932 US

Source: Powell v Alabama (1932) It is true that great and inexcusable delay in the enforcement of our criminal law is one of the grave evils of our time. Continuances are frequently granted for ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Does 'appear' have an object here? - 1932 US?

Source: Powell v Alabama (1932) It thus will be seen that, until the very morning of the trial, no lawyer had been named or definitely designated to represent the defendants. Prior to that time,...
0
votes
2answers
104 views

Ambiguity - 'offence to which the defendant has a complete defence'

Source: p 57, Criminal Law: The Basics, 1 ed (2009), by Herring As already explained, to convict the defendant of constructive manslaughter it must be shown that the defendant committed an ...
0
votes
2answers
354 views

Is “They always hurt her” present or past?

could someone in that sentence " they always hurt her "...how to know that it's past or present...? if we assumed that the sentence is in present can be rewritten in passive voice such as " She ...
0
votes
1answer
276 views

avoid ambiguity of Too keen to

"I can be keen to do something, and i can be too keen. If I am too keen to do something, am i overly keen to do something, or so keen that i am not able to do something?" Is it hopelessly ambiguous ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Confusing 1920 uses of 'it' and 'which' by R. H. Tawney?

In modern industrial societies the great mass of property consists, as the annual review of wealth passing at death reveals, neither of personal acquisitions such as household furniture, nor of the ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

“The finer points”

According to definitions 1 and 6 for "point" in this dictionary: def 1: a single fact, idea, or opinion that is part of an argument or discussion def 6: a particular quality or feature that ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Am I making jokes when I speak “please don't miss me”

Last time I expressed the idea "don't pass me" I used the phrase: Please don't miss me. I want to use the meaning of "miss" in this sentence: It would be just his luck to miss the last boat. It ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this BBC article ambiguous, or am I interpreting it incorrectly?

I came across a BBC article titled Ten laws that India should scrap. In the section about salt taxes, it first states: In 2013-14 collections from the tax amounted to $538,000 (£343,400), which was ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Meaning/Usage of “outstanding”

I was with some colleagues and an English native today. We talked about the work we still have to do, and he mentioned kind of "tracking the outstanding items". I was taught at school that "...
1
vote
3answers
87 views

How do I say if the portrait is made by humans not drawn by them?

On Oct 2, more than 6000 participants (humans) are gathering to create the largest portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Once created, how do we say this without bringing any ambiguity? Gandhi's largest ...
2
votes
3answers
515 views

plural or singular

When I have two meetings: one at 1pm and the other at 3pm, which one is more appropriate? I have (two) meetings at 1pm and 3pm. I have a meeting at 1pm and 3pm.
2
votes
2answers
253 views

Is “as father was away in France” a reason clause or time clause?

"Mother was worried because little Alice was ill, especially as father was away in France." In the sentence, is "as father was away in France" a reason clause or time clause? Which understanding is ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

How to determine which opposing meaning of 'circumstantial'?

1. Pointing indirectly towards someone’s guilt but not conclusively proving it: (Of a description) containing full details: Doesn't 1 contradict 2? How to conciliate them? There are 'full ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Why is this choice for a definition of a “civil society” the least controversial one? [closed]

Passage: p 154, Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law by Mark Shepherd = Consider only 'The civil society puzzle' & only the 1st para under 'Civil society – gaining some clarity'. ...
22
votes
6answers
110k views

Is “until” inclusive or exclusive?

I sent an email to someone and got an auto-reply saying: I am out of the office until 09/15/2014. Does this mean he will be available on the morning of the 15th?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

how to solve the ambiguity of “in” in this sentence

We did the task in ten minutes. I am pretty sure that it means 1) It took us ten minutes to do the task. (We spent 10 minutes doing the task) However, I see no obstacle to suppose that it may also ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Which can be gathered most likely to be encountered? - Test 3, Q25, by Mark Shepherd [closed]

From Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law by Mark Shepherd, page 144, last para: ...Second is the idea that the experience of long- term unemployment may be less stigmatising, and hence ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

How: accuracy of government statistics would be reduced? - Test 3, Q24, by Mark Shepherd [closed]

Source: p 145, Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law, Mark Shepherd. Lower middle of para 3: ...Added to this, there was the administrative practice in the 1980s and 1990s of re- ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

Which's suggested in the article? - Test 3, Q22, by Mark Shepherd [closed]

From Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law by Mark Shepherd, page 144, the last two sentences of paragraph two: ...Even before this period, there is evidence that the unemployed ...
-1
votes
2answers
82 views

What does '‘end of the Eastern Bloc’ suggest? - Test 3, Q21, p 143

The 95 Theses were written in 1517 and by 1521 [Martin] Luther had developed these ideas and burned the Book of Canon Law and the Papal Bull Exsurge Dominie. Four years in the C20 would be considered ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Which most closely reflects the author’s view of the strategic plan? - Test 3, Q11, p 137, by Mark Shepherd

The following only involves certain paragraphs here: everything under the heading The Challenge (but nothing aout the picture) and the first two paragraphs under The Enterprise. See question 11 here. ...
1
vote
1answer
202 views

What is meant by ‘cash cow’? - Test 3, Q4, p 27, by Mark Shepherd

The government’s favourite cash cow, taxation of petrol, has recently found a friend in the shape of proceeds from speed cameras. All around the country, unsuspecting motorists are being flashed ...
1
vote
3answers
654 views

Which word best describes 'Al Bore'? - Test 2, Q41, p 125, by Mark Shepherd

In America, politics is often thought to be more based on personalities than policies and party unity. This was probably more true in the 2000 campaign when the Republican Party played on Al Gore’s ...