Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
26 views

How to interpret “5 weeks into my degree”?

I was wondering whether it meant: I started my degree 5 weeks ago I finished my degree 5 weeks ago (I found this in an online dictionary) I will be finishing my degree in 5 weeks
1
vote
1answer
208 views

'like' or 'as' is ambiguous to me

Is it possible for native speakers to tell in what way the 'like' is saying things are the same, without the knowledge about the said content? It says: There is no special preposition in English ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Repeated continuous action using simple present or present continuous

What is the difference between the meaning of the following two sentences. (One is simple present and the other is continuous present). He works every Saturday. He is working every Saturday.
1
vote
2answers
786 views

Meaning of “would have had”?

I saw an ad regarding a job opportunity, where the following line was written: Typically, you would have had 3+years of experience building software products. Does it mean that the candidate ...
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 ...
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? ...
1
vote
2answers
591 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
229 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

If you “ride something”, do you control it or simply sit behind/aside?

I remember my friend telling that she rides a bus to go to her office. I also remember my another friend telling that she rides a scooter to go to her office. Does it mean that I need to identify ...
1
vote
1answer
37 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
294 views

“As of now”, is it possible to distinguish between the meanings?

I am quite puzzled as not even native speakers can agree whether "as of now" means "currently" or "from now on". Looking in the dictionaries: (Oxford) As from (of) - Used to indicate the time or date ...
1
vote
1answer
714 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
438 views

True False NotGiven questions

I have a some True False NotGiven questions that I had a hard time figuring the answers. In this sort of question, we must read a passage and then choose whether some information is true, false, or ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

meaning of “I don't love one human being more than another human being”

What does the below sentence mean?: "I don't love one human being more than another human being" Does the above sentence mean: 1: "I don't love one human being more than how much I love another ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
23 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

He left her a widow

He left her a widow. I think this sentence is ambiguous. The possible meanings are: 1. He died and she became a widow. 2. He kept a widow in her care. Could you please analyze the sentences and ...
0
votes
4answers
145 views

Another “Deviate” Question

I have yet another question about the verb "deviate". Suppose there is a plan, and part of the plan includes uttering the prepared text "do no evil". If I write the following sentence: He ...
0
votes
3answers
123 views

“12-year-old boy changes his mind just two years later” — how old was he at that moment?

I've encountered an article from The Independent: 12-year-old boy who transitioned to female changes his mind just two years later Isn't it ambiguous, how old was he at that moment? Was he 12 when ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

Ambiguity in negation : Multasking is not productive and efficient

I didn't get any score from my English teacher as she said the following sentence on my answer sheet belongs to a partial negation. "Multasking is not productive and efficient." By writing the ...
0
votes
4answers
87 views

Can the phrase “have got to know” have two meanings

Recently I have stumbled across a phrase mankind has got to know his limitations but could not really understand it. I'm confused by "has got to know" and how I should distinguish some words here. ...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

Does this have multiple meanings?

Why does she sing her sad songs for me, I'm not the one To tenderly bring her soft sympathy I've just begun To see my way clear and it's plain, if I stop I will fall I can lay down a tear for ...
0
votes
3answers
31 views

The meaning of more than in mathematics

In a mathematical question it is stated as follows. On Monday I sold 15 cows and today 5 more than on Monday. How many did I sell today? The question is one of ambiguity. Does 5 more refer to a ...
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 ...
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
2answers
241 views

Does “came out of X” mean “emerged from X” or “came here from X”?

   "Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die. Some say he's still out there, bidin' his time, like, but I don' believe it. People who ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Why weren't 17th-century readers dazed by ambiguous pronouns in long sentences? [closed]

John McWhorter PhD Linguistics (Stanford). The Power of Babel (2003). p. 241 Middle. Milton's it (in green) feels ambiguous and bungled. He ought to have rewritten the referent, as I would've never ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

cannot open any safe

a. I don't believe he's able to open any safe. b. I don't believe he can open any safe. Don't (a) and (b) have two meanings? First meaning: I don't believe he's able to open just any safe. ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

wine and beer vs. wine or beer

a. They were drinking wine and beer. b. They were drinking wine or beer. Can one use (a) if some were wine and the others beer? Can (b) used in that case? Does (a) necessarily imply that all the ...
0
votes
1answer
488 views

'Shot' or 'Filmed' to overcome its ambiguity?

I thought of a sentence - Back then, Mr. Anderson was shot by a journalist when he was misbehaving with a woman. The surprise is that I am talking about 'shot' with a camera and not a gun! The ...
0
votes
3answers
100 views

whats does “requires consideration of encounters and power” mean?

as Nanda maintains, ‘Deconstructing central structural concepts in American society such as race, gender, religion, and ethnicity is an essential component of teaching cultural anthropology as ...
0
votes
4answers
40 views

Reducing ambiguity in a description that might apply to one or two nouns in a list

The state and local governments must take into account characteristics of family members and family types in coming up with the policies. In the way it is expressed right now, there is no way to ...
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
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
110 views

Ambiguous to-infinitive: “Obama rejects G20 pressure to abandon Syria air strike plan.”

Obama rejects G20 pressure to abandon Syria air strike plan. I think this news headline is ambiguous because the infinitive clause could attach to either G20's pressure as its complement(?), or to ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

He is getting to be a naughty boy

When "get" is followed by an infinitive, it means "manage" or "have an opportunity". He is getting to be a naughty boy. It means "he manages to be a naughty boy" or "he has an opportunity to be ...
0
votes
1answer
14 views

“is written” (single or habitual action, tense choice)

Let's consider the sentence containing the phrase "is written": How this word is written? Does this phrase mean Single action: a concrete situation, how the word was written once by someone? ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What does the word “them” signify here?

Here is a sentence from a schedule planner app: In the app, you can easily group to-dos into projects and drag tasks within and between them. I am not sure if the word "them" is used here for "...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

How to reference previously mentioned words without ambiguity?

There are TV programmes produced by the Ministry of Education for high school students, and (1) they \ students can attend (2) these lectures remotely without traveling to schools. Assuming you are a ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

Doesn't “must” cause ambiguity since it has two meanings

First, let me give you two examples: She has a difficult job. She must work hard. She has a very difficult life. She must be patient. Since "must" can also be used for meaning "most likely" ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

gave them each a phone and a computer

a. I gave a phone and a computer to my two best students. b. I gave them a phone and a computer. c. I gave a phone and a computer to both of them. d. I gave them both a phone and a computer. Can ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

How to remove ambiguity in “You must purchase A that optionally includes B, C, and D.”?

The following sentence, in my opinion, is ambiguous. You must purchase A that optionally includes B, C, and D. The meaning can be one of the following. You must purchase A, C, and D. A ...
0
votes
2answers
17k views

How to interpret the sentence - “A Mother beats up her daughter because she was drunk”? [closed]

"A Mother beats up her daughter because she was drunk" So, who was drunk? Mother, or Daughter? Please tell me how to interpret the sentence. Also, If the mother was drunk how would I write a ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Default meaning of “Korean” (without North/South)

A user sent me an e-mail stating that he/she is Korean, without further details about which Korea. In English, is it the default that Korean means from South Korea? Is it always the case? For extra ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

How does this use of “and” differentiate between objects and their properties? [duplicate]

what is the meaning of this sentence: "Gold and silver ornaments are precious." Does it mean that: 'ornaments made of gold and ornaments made of silver are precious' I mean does it refer to two ...
0
votes
3answers
208 views

same content, different meaning? (with + subject + adjective (participle)" construction)

Other studies, including in the United States, have shown this same pattern, with girls who begin developing earlier than their peers vulnerable to depression in adolescence. Without context, are ...
0
votes
1answer
180 views

I don't remember me having a problem at home. what does this imply?

Here's the sentence that I get mixed up. Q: Tell me about a problem you had at home. A: I don't remember me having a problem at home. I'd like to know what it implies. a. I had a ...
0
votes
1answer
291 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 ...