Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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185 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?
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103 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 ...
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1answer
53 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 ...
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2answers
87 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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2answers
70 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 (...
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3answers
88 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
839 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
78k 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 ...
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1answer
300 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 ...
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1answer
40 views

Which word is “they” referring to?

Which word is they referring to in the following sentence? Children make circles because they are perfect. Is it referring to Children or circles? And why?
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1answer
32 views

Does the word “apparent” have ambiguity?

I'm learning the word "apparent" which has two apparently different meanings: (1) obvious (2) looks true, but not. How do people solve the ambiguity here? For example, republicans could ...
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3answers
73 views

How to remove the ambiguity in this sentence?

Let's see a dialogue between a father and a son : (1) Son : Dad, I've got the job. Father : I know you didn't get the job because of your qualification. It's due to the recommendation of the ...
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1answer
77 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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1answer
375 views

What is the meaning of “worn” in “There was a little path worn”

Meaning of "worn" in the context below So quiet did it seem and so lonely, that almost one might think that nothing but the wild red deer, or his fierce enemy the slinking wolf, had ever walked ...
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1answer
24 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 ...
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1answer
65 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
78 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 ...
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1answer
75 views

Part of speech of 'to' in the following Context:

As explained in the article , verbs that follow prepositions are usually gerund forms that act as nouns instead of verbs(usually Verb+ing). But in the sentence: "Tell John to bring some food", 'bring' ...
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1answer
33 views

How do the two examples the author gives support his view about amphiboly?

This is an excerpt from a piece of text talking about ambiguity: Misuse of the word which, or its omission for brevity, both produce many classic examples of amphiboly. (“On the claim form I have ...
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2answers
34 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
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1answer
275 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 ...
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1answer
473 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 ...
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2answers
54 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.
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2answers
912 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 ...
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3answers
107 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
2k 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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2answers
604 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
67 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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3answers
242 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
73 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 ...
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0answers
16 views

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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2answers
40 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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0answers
43 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
643 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 ...
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1answer
989 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
87 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
77 views

Connective preposition or subordinate conjunction?

I know that a Subordinating Conjunction or a subordinator serves as a marker for the Subordinate Clause : Other children are annoyed because John raises his hand constantly. Here 'because John ...
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1answer
35 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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2answers
93 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 ...
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4answers
179 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 ...
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3answers
131 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 ...
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2answers
33 views

dated two women in two cities

a. He dated two women in New York and Los Angeles. b. He dated two women, in New York and Los Angeles. c. He dated two women in New York and in Los Angeles. d. He dated two women, in New York and in ...
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1answer
27 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 ...
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4answers
462 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. ...
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2answers
90 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 ...
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2answers
63 views

to share something eatable with someone

If I wish to eat some of the chocolate my friend is eating. Can I say: Give me a bite. Share me a bite. Let me take a bite. Can you share a bite? Important: Does it have any taboos meaning too?
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67 views

Why does the author say the information was “correct” but after that he says “the information was wrong”?

Why does the author say the information was "correct" but after that he says "the information was wrong"? Does it means that the information of the letter was wrong but she spelled them out? What ...

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