Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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289 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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
128 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 ...
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2answers
139 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) ...
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1answer
46 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?
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2answers
90 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 ...
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2answers
363 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?
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1answer
139 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 ...
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1answer
132 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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,...
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2answers
101 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 ...
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2answers
334 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 ...
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1answer
261 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 "...
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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 ...
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3answers
513 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.
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2answers
252 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 ...
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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 ...
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72 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'. ...
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6answers
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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?
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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 ...
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1answer
32 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 ...
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2answers
54 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- ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
199 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 ...
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3answers
585 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 ...
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1answer
86 views

Meaning of 'modal' in modal ‘argument from contingency’

Like most arguments for the existence of God, the cosmological argument exists in several forms; two are discussed here: the temporal, kalam cosmological argument (i.e. the fi rst cause argument), ...
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2answers
567 views

What does “words for evil” mean?

Words for Evil is the title of a game combining word game and RPG elements. But what does this title mean? I'm not sure I understand how the word for has been used here. And this fragment from an ...
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1answer
605 views

Is a verb omitted in the second independent clause?

The basic task of the court is to ascertain and give effect to the true meaning of what Parliament has said in the enactment to be construed. But that is not to say that attention should be ...
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1answer
191 views

Omission of subject after “such … as”?

I consulted Is there subject missing in as-clause? but here is only the subject missing? In that other question, another as was omitted, but in this question, only one as is necessary? No court ...
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1answer
64 views

ambiguity about a human or a window

The following day, as twilight was falling, she stood at the window overlooking the Yard. Would you tell me if this sentence has an ambiguity? I think it does. Is she overlooking, or is the window ...
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1answer
254 views

Meaning of “Updated As Reported”

I am not too sure about some particular sentence: link (move mouse over the blue question mark) Choose the ID that matches the office you want to visit. This information is reported by the ...
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3answers
225 views

Are the words “harmless” and “interests” ambiguous in this context? [closed]

Lysander is harmless enough. We keep each other company with our mutual interests, yet I don't think he could handle the enormity of our present situation. Source: Diablo 2, Drognan (sells magic ...
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1answer
204 views

“maintains his army had to buy the mortars”

Source: Putin's 'Gunman' Demanding More Russian Support in Ukraine Further, the ministry insists that Strelkov's troops got all the weapons they needed from Russia, but Strelkov maintains his army ...
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3answers
655 views

Hang Between Two Poles

Assuming that two poles stand upright. Then does this: A rope was hung between two poles. necessarily mean that the one end of the rope was attached to one pole and the other end of the rope ...
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2answers
428 views

Break a Cup of His Own

For this sentence: He broke a cup of his own. Does it mean that he broke a cup of unknown ownership after someone else had broken a cup, also of unknown ownership, or that, after breaking a ...
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2answers
90 views

Take An Interest

I am not sure about the meaning of "take an interest" here: link The main concern is the financial interest that the American government has taken in the dairy industry, promoting milk as the ...
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4answers
5k views

refund vs rebate

I'm learning some vocabulary in the context of shopping and I have found some ambiguity between some words. Could someone please explain the difference between them? refund VS. rebate
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2answers
85 views

Broader Sanctions

In this article President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday ratcheted up the threat of economic backlash against Russia, saying they are preparing broader sanctions if Moscow ...