Questions tagged [attachment-ambiguity]

For questions about sentences have two different interpretations depending on which part of the sentence is modified by a different part. An example is "Police kill man with a knife." It could mean that the man who was killed had a knife, or that the police used a knife to kill a man.

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40
votes
5answers
8k views

Who is frowning in the sentence “Daisy looked at Tom frowning”?

I read this sentence from The Great Gatsby: “Plenty of gas,” said Tom boisterously. He looked at the gauge. “And if it runs out I can stop at a drug-store. You can buy anything at a drug-store ...
19
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6answers
3k views

Sentences containing “refused to close his bar because”

a. He refused to close his bar because of the pandemic. b. He refused to close his bar because there was a pandemic. Are the above sentences grammatically correct, and do they make sense? The intended ...
5
votes
4answers
790 views

Am I to use like or unlike here?

He is not fond of sweets, like his brother. He is not fond of sweets, unlike his brother. My situation is: His brother is fond of sweets but he is not. To make this sense, which one from the pair ...
5
votes
2answers
171 views

“He looked at her with a hurt expression” - Who has the hurt expression?

There is a sentence like below. He looked at her with a hurt expression. I don't know whether he has a hurt expression or she (her) has a hurt expression.
5
votes
5answers
176 views

A question regarding a modifying clause

The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to express a wish, a suggestion, a command, or a condition that is contrary to fact.(cited from http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/subjunctive_mood.htm) ...
4
votes
1answer
422 views

What is the subject of this sentence to which the complement is related?

In this sentence, what is the subject to which the subject-complement is referring to? This instruction provides the rules for sharing information originated by the Purchasing Department. Are we ...
4
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3answers
1k views

John threw Mama from the train a kiss

"John threw Mama from the train a kiss." This statement is used as an example of poor syntax. It sounds as if John threw Mama off the train, followed by a kiss. How would one arrange this statement ...
4
votes
5answers
19k views

There was a farmer had a dog, but which one was named Bingo?

There was a farmer had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o. From these words alone (so, without appealing to different versions, translations, likelihoods of names, etc.), is there some way to decide ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Fix ambiguity in “You're Not Obligated to Work Until You're 30”

The sentence in the title has two, almost contradicting interpretations. (1) that you are not obligated to do the task "work until you're 30", or (2) you are not obligated to do the task "work" until ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

what's the structure of the following sentence?

Hair production is the result of the cells of the hair follicle depositing layer after layer of protein into this tubular space. Can anyone help me parse the above sentence? Is "depositing layer ...
4
votes
2answers
92 views

How to correct “With a growing tech sector in Vancouver and a highly transferable skill set, Maisie can easily find a job”?

With a growing tech sector in Vancouver and a highly transferable skill set, Maisie can reasonably expect to find a suitable job in her field. [The lady is a computer programmer: this is discussed ...
4
votes
3answers
76 views

“It offers evidence, (?) of the nonexistence of free will, which you didn't believe existed”

Are either of these two variants of this sentence grammatically correct? It offers evidence of the nonexistence of free will, which you didn't believe existed vs It offers evidence, of the ...
3
votes
2answers
224 views

A saw B walking down the street - Who was walking?

Please explain how to know the meaning of this sentence: Amy saw her brother walking on the street. Does that mean: (1) Amy was walking on the street and saw her brother. (2) Her brother was ...
3
votes
2answers
578 views

The Chrome Web Store does not allow extensions to download from YouTube

The Chrome Web Store (i.e. Google) does not allow extensions to download from YouTube. This message appeared when I tried to download video clips from YouTube. I can understand what this says, but ...
3
votes
4answers
406 views

I watched them playing with my basketball

The sentence I want to talk about is: "I watched them playing with my basketball" Don't these kind of sentences have two meanings? Doesn't this sentence mean either "I watched them while they ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

What does the “that” refer to?

You use 'of' to combine two nouns when the first noun identifies the feature of the second noun that you want to talk about. I am not sure what "I" want to talk about in the sentence. Talking about "...
2
votes
2answers
833 views

What is breaking on the shore? The sea foam or the waves?

What is breaking on the shore? The sea foam or the waves? We watched the sea foam made by the waves breaking on the shore.
2
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3answers
130 views

“the Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah.” What is the meaning of this sentence?

The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah. It can be understood in two ways: There's no doubt that Quran is from Allah. Quran doesn't contain any doubt and is revealed from Allah. ...
2
votes
2answers
16 views

How to interpret when there is two adjectives in front & end

Necessary Employees and Persons Authorized Does it mean "(necessary employees) and (persons authorized)" or "necessary (employees and persons) who are authorized"?
1
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3answers
2k views

Prepositional phrase modifies another prepositional phrase? Or both modify the verb?

Consider: Smoke hung in the air above the city. I see lots of sentences containing the structure of "verbal phrase + prepositional phrase + prepositional phrase" like the example above. I just do ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Only one person lives between John and Dany, who likes apple

Only one person lives between John and Dany, who likes apple. In previous sentence, who likes apple? 2) Joe lives immediately above Kyle, who lives on an odd numbered floor ? I mean I'm not able to ...
1
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2answers
523 views

adjective applied to several noun

How appropriate is in English the use of a single adjective to modify several nouns? Example 1: Can we say: different places and orientations instead of different places and different orientations? ...
1
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1answer
54 views

Is “A pointer is returned to an automatic variable” correct and unambiguous about what is “returned”?

I found this sentence in a book. A pointer is returned to an automatic variable in a previous function call (discussed in the section “Pointers to Local Data” on page 66). Based on the context, I ...
1
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1answer
33 views

Can “Others may have a point of view…” be understood in two ways?

In a book, I found the following sentence: Good fiction teaches us about ourselves and about our relationships with other people; it shows us too that others may have a point of view which is ...
1
vote
3answers
154 views

the differences between the adjective clause

Please explain to me the differences between these two sentences: a) The sales girl whom we met at junction square is patient. b) The sales girl at junction square whom we met is patient.
1
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2answers
29 views

Is the clause here ambiguous to the preceding sentence

The sentence in question is the following: Using the discovered method, the researcher can quantify the virus effectively, which is unprecedented. The question is: is the bold clause qualifying ...
1
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2answers
47 views

Use of 'or' before last item in series of items

For a particular job, the mandatory educational requirement was: A degree with Zoology, Chemistry or Biochemistry as one of the subjects. Does this sentence mean the requirement is "Zoology + ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

Postmodifier Description

She has an interview next week for a teaching job in Paris. Does “in Paris” describe “a teaching job” (The job is in Paris, not the interview.) or “an interview” (The interview is in Paris, not the ...
0
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1answer
46 views

modificational scope of “two years ago”

In the following sentence, does the "two years ago" describe the time of buying or reading the book? I bought the book which I had read two years ago and which had the author's autograph. ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Possible ambiguity in “In addition to the 3 main reasons, there is a 4th reason that has not been widely cited”

I am wondering if my sentence is ambiguous. In addition to the three main arguments, there is a fourth argument that, although important, has not been widely cited. The "three main arguments" are ...
0
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1answer
9 views

the English led by general Smith

a. They were fighting the English led by general Smith. b. They were fighting the English under the leadership of general Smith. c. They were fighting the English**,** led by general Smith. d. They ...
0
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1answer
60 views

location - returned from where?

Consider the following sentences. If John had come from Boston, was it the place Peter arrived at, or the place Peter came from? Peter returned from where John had come. Peter returned whence ...
0
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1answer
354 views

Who does 'who' refer to?

Tom plays basketball daily unlike Sam, who is a very busy man Is the above sentence correct? So 'who' always relates to 'Sam' or the nearest noun (& not Tom)?
0
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0answers
18 views

Ambiguity between “you are” and “you would be”

Is it possible in English to create ambiguity between the expressions "you are" and "you would be" as an equivalent of the Italian expressive construct "saresti"? This ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Who is pissed off here?

Jack walks up to the girl at the bar and starts flirting, but the girl just looks at him weirdly and walks away. Enjoying this, Ethan grins at Jack, pissing him off. My question is about the last ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Meaning of “I will not kill you due to your talent”

What is the meaning of: I will not kill you due to your talent. Does that mean: [I will not kill you] [due to your talent]. Because you are talented, I will not kill you. [I will not] [kill you ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

To solve a complex problem, there is always a simple way which everyone can understand

The sentence is: To solve a complex problem, there is always a simple way which everyone can understand. Do you think that this sentence is grammatically OK? Why I am asking it is because I would ...
-1
votes
1answer
545 views

What is the meaning of “The shame of [something]”? [closed]

I didn't find the meaning of The shame of [something] in my search on the internet and that's why I can't conclude its meaning precisely. I want to use The shame of his book for some text in this ...
-1
votes
1answer
46 views

I saw a man in the room

I saw a man in the room. I saw the man in the room. 1a. I saw a man who was in the room. There were five people in the room, for example. I saw one man who was in the room. In this case, 'in the room'...