Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
2answers
35 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
1answer
87 views

“Hiding in a wardrobe, I have finally found you!” - Who exactly is hiding in a wardrobe?

You can either think about this way: Someone was hiding in a wardrobe and you found them. Here "hinding in a wardrobe" is used to emphasize our disbelief that this particular person was hiding in ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Scopal Ambiguity that arises from 'one of our…'

Before you read on, I just want to let you know that this question is one that relates to the balance of logic and grammar. So I know that are multiple ways to describe a first-cousin relationship. I ...
2
votes
2answers
232 views

Why did the author use “One of them” instead of “each one of them” in this sentence?

The scenario is the protagonist in this novel had been experimenting a theory her colleague have had told her (is the tense correct?) that eye contact with another person for more than six seconds ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

Usage of 'and' to mean both this and that

A friend of mine occasionally says I would like a chocolate and vanilla ice-cream. In this case he really meant that he would like a chocolate and a vanilla ice-cream. That makes two ice-creams. ...
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 ...
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
1answer
69 views

Why is the prefix repeated in brackets in the word “((meta-)meta-)meta-design”?

While reading an article about web design, I came across the following phrase — "((meta-)meta-)meta-design systems". I'm well aware what meta-design is, but have problems understanding the usage of "(...
2
votes
2answers
373 views

Ambiguous meaning of “his murder”

Can "his murder" mean two different things? The murder of a male person (him) A man's crime, e.g His murder of someone
1
vote
2answers
135 views

How to distinguish country between the meanings of nation and countryside?

Which country do you come from? What is the meaning? Which countryside do you come from? or Which nation do you come from?
1
vote
1answer
11k views

Ambiguity of 'Blank Paper', 'Blank Lined Paper', and 'Lined Paper which is not blank'

This happened with me. I asked my daughter to get me a blank paper and she gave me this. When I asked this is not the blank paper, she said it is, there's nothing written on this. Whereas I was ...
1
vote
3answers
660 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
155 views

reference mistake

When democracy fails, the people's last weapon is civil disobedience. It means actions that disobey the authority of the state, for instance illegal demonstrations and refusing to pay taxes.* ...
1
vote
3answers
408 views

a CERTAIN answer?

Can "certain" be used as a synonym of "definite" in front of "answer"? When I hear "a certain answer", I think about "a specific answer" not a "definite" nor "ultimate" answer. Can a "certain answer"...
1
vote
3answers
85 views

a man and a woman

a. I talked to a man and woman. b. I talked to a lean man and woman. Does (a) mean they were together? Does (b) mean they were together? Does (b) mean they were both lean? =======================...
1
vote
2answers
423 views

Does “I got offered a job in New York.” mean the job is in New York, or I was in New York when it was offered?

I got offered a job in New York. Does this sentence mean: "I got offered a job to work in New York" Or "I got offered a job when I was in New York"? Can this sentence carry both of these meanings by ...
1
vote
4answers
86 views

They're closing their shop

We were shopping at the mall. It's late and all the shops were starting to close. "They're closing." "They're closing their shop." Will the second sentence mean the shop is bankrupt?
1
vote
2answers
4k views

I haven't eaten since yesterday

Is "I haven't eaten since yesterday" ambiguous? Does it mean I haven't eaten from yesterday until now (i.e. I didn't eat anything yesterday and I haven't eaten anything ever since), or I haven't ...
1
vote
3answers
80 views

What does “great” modify in “A great American consulting firm official”?

A great American consulting firm official What does this "great" modify? Could it modify "consulting firm?" I think it can only modify "official". If it can modify "firm", then it should be A ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does this “which is a shame” mean?

In a piece comparing two poets (Source), an author has a single paragraph that reads: For shame. (As in “because of shame.”) Which is a shame. This is confusing – What does this writer mean by ...
1
vote
2answers
45 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Yeti with a microphone

We started interviewing a Yeti with a microphone. How do we ensure that we mean the picture on the right and not on the left? And how would we describe this one? Edit, from the comments: ...
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
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
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
1answer
649 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
51 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What does “the least possible value” mean?

I was working on a GMAT question: The least possible value for the mean of the numbers of hours of TV reported for the week is [choices]. It a single choice question. But in the phrase "the least ...
1
vote
2answers
12k views

Does “She had a brother” mean that her brother is dead?

My Friend has sent me this riddle to solve: "If you solve this, then you are a genius. Mr.Smith has 4 daughters🙍‍♀🙍‍♀🙍‍♀🙍‍♀ and each daughter had a brother. How many children does Mr. ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

twice the size of a sphere/cube

I want to know the most commonly understood meaning of phrases like "twice the size of" or "three times the size of" 3D objects. If I say "this ball is twice the size of a table tennis ball", do ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

Confirming something and at the same time expressing your previous lack of knowledge

Someone informs me: I think it's going to rain. I check the weather Service and I find the forecast includes rain. I want to share this additional information with the person who informed me. I ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Meaning of “second” in this context

I saw your picture and I could tell from the second I saw it it's not Mr. X. Can "second" here also stand for "the second picture"?
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Converting the past into reported speech

My grammar book says that if somebody says to me something and he uses the past tense, I can report his speech using either the past or past perfect. (In the first case I don't change the tense at all....
1
vote
1answer
26 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

talked to him in a bad mood

a. Have you ever talked to John in a bad mood? b. Have you ever talked to him in a bad mood? Can we tell who is in a bad mood, you or John/him?
1
vote
2answers
49 views

the painting in the living room

a. He painted the painting in the living room. Does this mean a1. In the living room, he painted that painting. Maybe it is somewhere else now. or a2. He painted the painting that is in the living ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

How do I identify whether the word “quite” is used in the sense of completely or partly?

I've found that word "quite" is used sometimes in the sense of "greatest extent" (or say absolute or complete sense) and sometimes "moderate extent" (or say somewhat or little sense) and taking the ...
1
vote
3answers
145 views

How to use a personal pronoun where there could be multiple antecedents?

When we say that, Petter will give a book to Hari and he will come Dubai tomorrow. Does the pronoun he refer to Petter or Hari?
1
vote
2answers
93 views

What does appointed mean in this sentence?

Tiwari, Rai appointed BJP’s Delhi and Bihar unit presidents From: "Tiwari, Rai appointed BJP’s Delhi and Bihar unit presidents" - The Hindu Here what I didn't understand is Tiwari,Rai appointed ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

commas in conjunction with a prepositional phrase (with…)

a. In the photo you see her with Dave standing on a rock. b. In the photo you see her, with Dave standing on a rock. c. In the photo you see her, with Dave, standing on a rock. In which of ...
1
vote
2answers
86 views

“Staining in isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes” - is it ambiguous?

Slight specific staining with the antibody was observed in isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes. Would this isolated always evoke the meaning "happening or existing only once, separate", as in ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How nothing from me differs from not from me?

At the end of every day we deploy our product with our team members developed features. Each one will get a turn to deploy in daily manner. The person who going to deploy will ask like, Is there any ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

Is “I left the pub with my friend, Simon and Terry.” ambiguous?

I left the pub with my friend, Simon and Terry. I think this sentence can be understood from two ways: I left the pub with two people (My friend Simon and Terry). I left the pub with three people (...
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
708 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
69k views

If you decrease the AC; does the room become cooler or hotter?

This happens with me many times. And people misinterpret it. But then I thought for a while and now think that I should have some unambiguous sentence to convey my message. Could you decrease the ...
1
vote
1answer
289 views

Does 'the same' means opposite in this case?

Check these sentences - I cracked that tough exam and got an admission at the institute. You are my best buddy, I expect the same from you (cracking the exam). Clearly, one friend wants other to ...
1
vote
1answer
23 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
71 views

Can the sentence “This world is sad” have two meanings?

"This world is sad." Since "sad" can mean either "saddening (depressing)" or "unhappy", I think that this sentence I gave can mean either "This world is saddening." or "This world is unhappy.", am I ...