Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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

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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 ...
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1answer
298 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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1answer
73 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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1answer
34 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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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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3answers
190 views

What does the phrase “minimum of introspection or self-analysis” mean in this sentence?

"These situations are best resolved with the minimum of introspection or self-analysis." This is where I found it: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/introspection Does it ...
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1answer
18 views

on both sides/on the two sides

a. The conflict claimed about two hundred lives on all sides. b. The conflict claimed about two hundred lives on the three sides. Do those mean all in all there were two hundred lives lost or ...
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2answers
28 views

“Prior to the 1980s” does it include the 1980s or not?

High pollution was observed prior to the 1980s. Which period does 'Prior to the 1980s' refer to, 1)include, 2)partially include, 3)exclude the period of the 1980s?
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1answer
18 views

What is the meaning of “to work part time and summers”?

I want to know the exact meaning of "to work part time and summers". Does this mean someone works part time through the year and works full time in summer? Or does this mean he works part-time only in ...
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1answer
33 views

Most likely interpretation of parents' “anniversary”?

When someone says it's their parents' anniversary, does "anniversary" by default mean wedding anniversary, or do English speakers by default consider "anniversary" vague, requiring clarification like ...
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1answer
64 views

she was happy to see her mother

a. She was happy to see her mother. Does this mean a1. She was happy when she saw her mother. a2. She was happy that she'd seen her mother. a3. She was happy that she was going to see her mother. ...
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1answer
49 views

usage of “his certainty” [closed]

Jacob's long absence intensified his certainty that he should marry Rose. I think there is an ambiguity. For my opinion the expression "his certainty" spoiling the logic. If I'm wrong could you ...
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1answer
44 views

constraints on “anything but”

Are these examples are all acceptable and illustrative of the same use of anything but? What constraints, if any, are at work? He looked anything but happy. He did anything but watch TV. (= ? ...
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3answers
67 views

How should an amphibian answer “Do you live in water”? [closed]

As commonly known, amphibians live both in water and on land. Then how should we answer to a YES-NO question that only accepts a boolean answer such as "Does it live in water?" when we are referring ...
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1answer
155 views

ran all over the hill

a. The deer ran over the hill. b. The deer moved over the hill. c. The deer went over the hill. Can we tell if the deer crossed the hill or if ran/walked about on the hill? ========================...
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1answer
52 views

ambiguity- one or more purchases?

If I have bought two products in a single online transaction, have I made one or two purchases? I'd appreciate your help.
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1answer
21 views

a high turnover (rate)

The word turnover at least has two meanings in the dictionary. Without context, is the following sentence ambiguous? The company has a high turnover. Supposing it's ambiguous, if the word rate is ...
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2answers
64 views

Degree of horror for several verbs

Could someone please sort the level of each of these verbs in the degree of horror? appal, dismay, horrify, shock, startle
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1answer
33 views

thinking about a robot for/to

Are these sentences correct: 1) I am thinking about a car for driving to work. 2) I am thinking about a car to drive to work in. 3) I am thinking about a robot for cleaning the house. 4) I am ...
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1answer
105 views

Does this sentence make it seem like my grandparents are part of Porbandar?

I have to make the following sentence less ambiguous I stay with my family in a small house in Porbandar which includes my grandparents. My attempt is: I stay with my family which includes my ...
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1answer
321 views

Question about Harvey's quote

"Nothing that happens on the surface of the sea can alter the calm of its depths" Whenever I see this quote,I always enter into an ambiguity, I tend to interpret that quote with two different ...
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1answer
417 views

Distinguishing between although and while

What are some circumstances in which "although" and "while" are semantically interchangeable? When are they not?
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1answer
40 views

Understanding the CC-BY-ND summary

In the CC-BY-ND human readable summary, there is the sentence Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license , and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any ...
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1answer
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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1answer
53 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
104 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
56 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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1answer
87 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
86 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 ...
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3answers
38 views

Is “should be” talking about the past or the present or the future?

Not sure who’s working but this should be resolved. Does that should be resolved part mean (1) that it has already been resolved in the past, or (2) that he is expecting or needing it to be resolved ...
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1answer
22 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
31 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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1answer
16 views

Interpretation ambiguity

While reading the article, I am quite confused about the part bolded "whether fallen or not". I believe there might be two possible answers: 1: I did not stop to think whether the whirring cicadas ...
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0answers
1k 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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0answers
237 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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0answers
341 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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0answers
107 views

are there two meaning?

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 ...
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1answer
169 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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2answers
241 views

Can “on VERBing” be ambiguous?

SOURCE Oxford Learner's dictionary says, in its definition of on: 5 immediately after something On arriving home I discovered they had gone. There was a letter waiting for him on his return. ...
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4answers
1k views

How do you make a sentence like 'I saw the bird singing.' unambiguous?

There is a sentence, I saw the bird singing. I think the sentence above can have two meaning. First meaning is ' I saw the singing bird.' Second meaning is ' I saw the bird while I am singing.' ...
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2answers
82 views

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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2answers
61 views

About “AND” Which one is correct? And Why?

How can I understand the sentence below? My best friend and my father’s father both come from Wales. Which one of these is correct? And Why? A. My best friend and my father's father (...
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1answer
121 views

Best way to ask if a person lacks a criminal record in a form on a website

I have a website and there's an online form to be filled out by people who visit the site. I want to make sure that a certain person lacks a criminal record (that he hasn't one). So I put this: Lack ...
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1answer
317 views

“Deviate” Meanings [closed]

I have a question about the usage of the verb "deviate". According to dictionaries, "deviate from" means: "to do something different from what is usual or expected" "to be something different ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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1answer
384 views

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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2answers
102 views

What does 'we are bid to' mean?

Source: p 116, Introducing Philosophy for Canadians: A Text with Integrated Readings (2011 1 ed) by Solomon, McDermid. Primary Source: p 110, Method in Theology, Volume 12 (1972) by Bernard J. F. ...