Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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Adjective noun and use of AND

“Blue shirt and pants“ Does this grammatically mean: A blue shirt and blue pants or a blue shirt and ALL colors of pants? And if known, why is that the answer and what is the rule here?
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36 views

“The way” vs “how”?

'The way' and 'how' are not used together. I know the way how he did it. (Incorrect). I know the way he did it. (Correct) Or, I know how he did it. (Correct) But "I know the reason why he did ...
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1answer
24 views

Instead of be or instead of being?

I know after 'instead of' verb-ing is used. But I have found a sentence : "My father wants me to be bold instead of be cautious". Is it correct? Can we use 'instead of being cautious' in the ...
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48 views

What is 'but' in “nothing but”?

"It did nothing but make us ridiculous." It means : "It did nothing but It did make us ridiculous." Here, 'but' seems to be a conjunction. But I know, 'but' is a preposition (meaning 'except') in ...
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56 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 ...
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1answer
961 views

think I can do anything

a. I don't think I can do anything you want. Can't this sentence mean two things? a1. I think I can't do anything you want. a2. I don't think I can't do just anything you want. b. You're mistaken ...
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1answer
33 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 ...
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1answer
3 views

Correct future tense of flying

By ear I feel that the answer is "I'm going to fly", but the more I think about it and the more I see "will fly" to Paris as a legitimate option as well, can you guys help me out ...
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22 views

some confusing expressions with number

When I want to express one of the series in harry potter, which one is better? ex) Third episode is my favorite among whole series. Third episode/ episode three Are all of them can be used? If not, ...
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14 views

isn't efficient as you claimed

a. This device isn't efficient as you claimed. b. This device isn't efficient**,** as you claimed. Which of the above sentences could be used instead of each of the following: Unlike what you ...
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1answer
25 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 ...
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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 ...
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236 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 ...
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1answer
24 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'...
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31 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 (...
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1answer
24 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 ...
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1answer
25 views

It position in sentence

How to recognize which subject or object "it" is referring to in the following sentence: The Pump gives 10 bar pressure to the Machine and it will give good production. Here how can we identify ...
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1answer
35 views

any of the assignments

a. If you haven't done any of the assignments, I can give you extra time to do them. Can this sentence mean two things? If you have done none of the assignments, I can give you extra time to do them....
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2k views

Ambiguity in “Didn’t do it on purpose”

I was thinking, couldn’t “I didn’t do it on purpose” take on two meanings or be interpreted two ways? 1) The act was unintentional, I did not mean for it to happen. 2) I specifically chose not to do ...
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304 views

Meaning of “He saved two people on two occasions”

a. He saved someone on four occasions. Does that mean he saved the same person four times? b. He saved two people twice. c. He saved two people on two occasions. In (b) and (c) did he save four ...
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348 views

ambiguity of “for”

I know "for" may have different meaning in different context. I'll cook the dinner for you. This sentence can be understood as 1) I'll cook the dinner for you to enjoy it. "you" is the ...
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2answers
25 views

Distinguishing between subject and object of sentence when the clause seems ambiguous

Looking past the literal meaning of the sentence; I'm struggling to identify which is the true subject and object in the following sentence. "The mother beats up her daughter because she was drunk." ...
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1answer
40 views

Conflicting feedback on my paraphrase: “on the grounds that X should be shared with Y” = “so that X [would/could] be shared with Y”

This is not a question about the meaning of "could" and "would". This is a question about which word fits the context. I got conflicting remarks on my paraphrase of a few sentences. I am not sure ...
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1answer
32 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 ...
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1answer
272 views

Using the word “sad” after a noun

On Collins dictionary, one of the meanings of "sad" is: "If you describe someone as sad, you do not have any respect for them and think their behavior or ideas are ridiculous.", and it says that it is ...
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29 views

How do you interpret something like “racism and crime justification”

Does it mean The justification of both racism and crime? Racism and the justification of crime? Depends on the context? Depends on the punctuation? (Please explain)
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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 ...
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62 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 ...