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We all know that you do not belong here, have no idea what you are talking about, and can't actually script.

Should this be interpreted as

  1. We all know that you do not belong here

  2. You have no idea what you are talking about

  3. You can't actually script

Or

  1. We all know that you do not belong here

  2. We have no idea what you are talking about

  3. We can't actually script

And why?

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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, Carlo_R., Andrew Leach, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd May 1 '13 at 23:04

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I think your original quote is wrong using "We" in becoming the first sentence. In fact, it should be "They". So the correct version is "They all know that you do not belong here, we have no idea what you are talking about, and you can't actually script." Suggestion: If you use all the pronuns it is likely you got at least one. –  user19148 May 1 '13 at 21:53
    
If you want to be pedantic, both interpretations are possible. If you want to be really pedantic*, you could add the possibility that it might mean we can't script. But these are perverse interpretations, given that the first of the three "attributive clauses" unambiguously refers to you. I think this is either Not Constructive, or a duplicate of How to determine what an attributive clause modifies (to which the answer is "by using logic, not grammar"). –  FumbleFingers May 1 '13 at 21:55
    
"Me" being part of "We" makes "They" seem like I am not included, which is necessary to be made clear. That also does not solve the potential confusion. We belong here, you do not; both we and you have no idea what you are talking about; you do not belong here, and we do. –  Waffle May 1 '13 at 22:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The string of words which is distributed across all three clauses must be either

We all or
We all know that you

since only these two strings provide a single subject for the verbs have and can. The natural parse is that it is the longer string. That would define these as the three underlying propositions:

We all know that you do not belong here.
[We all know that you] have no idea what you are talking about.
[We all know that you] can't actually script.

We all is possible but unlikely, since We all don't know what you're talking about and We all can't script are only marginally idiomatic: most people would say None of us know what you're talking about and None of us can script.

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+1 Moreover, there can be no doubt that the speakers intend to deprecate "you", not themselves. –  Cerberus May 1 '13 at 23:31

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