Topics having to do with multiple meanings of a word or phrase.

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14 views

six points clear of Jack in fifth place

a. In the most recent rankings, Don sits six points clear of Jack in fifth place. b. In the most recent rankings, Don sits six points clear of Jack, in fifth place. In the second sentence there is ...
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2answers
71 views

Positive connotation of “fluke”?

Many sources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, for a start) suggest the word "fluke" has mostly positive connotations when used in the sense of "accident." That is, "a fluke" properly describes a lucky accident, not ...
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1answer
45 views

Ambiguity in prepositional phrases

"Nellie washed the dishes in the sink." This sentence is ambiguous, and the prepositional phrase can be read two ways--either as 'Nellie washed (in the sink) the dishes', in which case it is an ...
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2answers
51 views

Multiple meanings of “I hope that you will prove them wrong”

I were recently told that the sentence "I hope that you will prove them wrong" should have two or more meanings 'in-sentence', but not how and this is bugging me! I can only make sense of this ...
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3answers
57 views

Ambiguous modifier at the end of this sentence? [closed]

We review recurrent neural networks in computer science, a simple class of learning algorithms that permit feedback between the different nodes in the network. I have two questions: Is the ...
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2answers
68 views

What our students have to say. Grammar question

I often hear the phrase "what our students have to say" in testimonials, and I am confused with the grammar here. It can be taken in two ways as follows. 1) Our students have something (what) to say ...
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0answers
41 views

Is “América” a proper noun? [closed]

Is "América" a proper noun? I have received an email signed as "América", and I'm confused whether it is the name of a real person or it refers to US.
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2answers
25 views

meaning of traceurs [closed]

According to dictionaries the exponents of parkour are called traceurs, meaning tracers of urban textures and contours. But, does "tracer" here mean "drawer, plotter, and designer" or "follower and ...
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0answers
20 views

did not know that I had seen some/certain [closed]

a. She didn't know that I had seen some of her paintings. b. She didn't know that I had seen some of her paintings. Could either of these sentences be used instead of: c. There were certain of her ...
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0answers
28 views

will buy any of them [closed]

a. Take any of the CD's you want. Does that mean Take one CD, whichever one you want. Or could it mean take all the CD's you want? b. Take any CD you want. Does that mean Take one CD, whichever ...
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1answer
63 views

Regarding education, does the term “special needs” usually only refer to severe mental disability?

I thought that when discussing education, the term "special needs" referred to individuals with severe mental disability, such as having a very low IQ. However, this question on academia.SE talks ...
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0answers
20 views

How nothing from me differs from not from me? [migrated]

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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1answer
21 views

Ambiguity in sentence: retrieving a document marked as relevant by pure chance [closed]

There is an ambiguity in the following sentence, since it is not obvious whether by pure chance refers to retrieving a document or to marked as relevant. I want to make it explicit that the document ...
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1answer
34 views

What does “Term” on a quote mean? [closed]

I recently requested a quote from a web hosting provider. In the quote details, below the quote id number and the validity expiration date, I can read "Term - 6 months". What does it mean? Is it a ...
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0answers
72 views

Peevish, crabby, irritable, and bad-tempered [closed]

What's the difference between them? What the difference between someone who is peevish or irritable and a ‘crabby person’? As far as I get them Peevish — easily annoyed, especially by things that ...
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1answer
43 views

Dual meaning of 'Latest'

I want to sort a list of events chronologically in 'latest first' order. Does this mean the most recent events will be the top of the list, or the bottom of the list? Latest means 'most recent', but ...
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1answer
43 views

Use of 'Like' and 'Unlike' prepositions

I am confused about the usage of the words like and unlike in sentences. Like and unlike make me confused because I see them being used everywhere almost interchangeably, and to make matters worse I ...
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3answers
64 views

Sentence with two possible meanings

I was reading this sentence and was a bit confused because it has two possible meanings: But I want to terminate the session as soon as user closes the browser using Ajax.           — Source ...
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25 views

what does “considers most” mean here?

The United States signed but has not yet ratified the Convention; however, the United States considers most of the Vienna Convention’s rules as representing customary international law. does it ...
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2answers
42 views

what does “preceding warfare” means? [closed]

Peace treaties concluded after cessation of hostilities were usually considered to be valid because of preceding warfare. preceding means "come before (something) in time" warfare means ...
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0answers
24 views

Correlation to or between

My Brazilian friend wants me to check his PhD abstract in English. The information of gravimetric and topographic surveys shows the shallow nature of ECSMT with ~ 1.4 km deep, there is a strong ...
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1answer
73 views

What does “then” mean in this context?

In the book Diplomacy: A Very Short Introduction by By Joseph M. Siracusa, we find the following passage: Prior to World War II, then, diplomacy was essentially a government-to-government ...
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1answer
53 views

WHAT IS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “STORY” AND “TALE” IN THIS CONTEXT? [duplicate]

For all their efforts, the diplomats at Versailles achieved the precise opposite of what they had set out to do, inexorably, tragically laying the groundwork for the next, more horrible world war. In ...
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37 views

Who are these people in context?

Text came from preface. I should also be remiss if I did not thank the anonymous Delegates for their thoughtful reports and constructive suggestions. Even those who did not much agree with me gave me ...
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1answer
52 views

is “reads as” equal to “similar to” in this context?

For all their efforts, the diplomats at Versailles achieved the precise opposite of what they had set out to do, inexorably, tragically laying the groundwork for the next, more horrible world war. ...
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0answers
44 views

Not sure if five of them

a. I don't know if five of my friends are still alive or not. b. I am not sure that five of my friends are still alive. Aren't these sentences ambiguous? I see two possibilities ...
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0answers
19 views

adverbials part II… I left the building with him…

Can one say a. I left the kitchen with the water running. b. I went to his house with my brother in jail. c. I went out of the bedroom with her naked. d. I left the building with my brother ...
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1answer
56 views

Ambiguous sentences

Consider the following two examples: I’ve heard more vicious rumors. I’ve heard less vicious rumors. Which of these examples, if any, can be considered ambiguous in interpretation?
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2answers
94 views

Can “prognosis” ever be correctly used outside of the medical meaning of the word? [closed]

i.e. would it be correct to ask about the 'prognosis' of an ongoing engineering project?
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1answer
49 views

The “garden path” theory of ambiguity resolution. apply to the joke:

Does the "garden path" theory of ambiguity resolution apply to the joke: A seal walked into a club... Given that the listener probably is familiar with this type of joke: A sandwich walks into a ...
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2answers
70 views

Word meaning “has many similar forms”

I'm looking for one word (or a variety of words) that imply ambiguity through synonymous meaning. "Do you have that in large?" "No sir, we only have it in big, great, impressive, grand, and ...
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2answers
96 views

Differences between “carton” and “box” (Express service)

What's the differences between "carton" & "box"? I didn't know which word to choose when using express to send samples. From the Internet, some say that carton is a smaller box, and some say that ...
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2answers
89 views

An Example of Lexical Semantic Ambiguity?

As a joke, is A seal walks into a club... an example of semantic ambiguity, lexical ambiguity, or the expression I just recently discovered, lexical semantic ambiguity? Or put another way, is ...
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1answer
25 views

What is the meaning, and the tense, of “are paid to” and “are received by?” [closed]

What is the tense of "are paid to" and "are received by" in the sentence: If any attorney fees are paid to or received by Tom, Tom shall forthwith pay Mary one-half of all such fees recovered or ...
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4answers
62 views

To seek asylum from

Say Marcia was born in the Kingdom of Liliput, a country with an oppressive government, and is a victim of persecution. She wants to leave her homeland and immigrate to the Kingdom of Blefuscu, ...
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4answers
227 views

Ambiguity of the word 'any'?

Given the following question, in the context of a poll or vote: Should any employee of Company X be allowed to assume absolute authority in any project with Company X's name associated? Under ...
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1answer
44 views

“It is just one way” — ambiguous? [closed]

I wonder what the following fragment of lyrics of the song "Ticket To The Moon" by Electric Light Orchestra means: Ticket to the moon Flight leaves here today from Satellite Two As the ...
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1answer
79 views

Meaning of “We have worked too long for the priests to undermine us with more fairy-tales.” [closed]

I want to know the real meaning of this sentence: We have worked too long for the priests to undermine us with more fairy-tales. Have we worked too long for the priests? Or have we worked too ...
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4answers
178 views

Word meaning communication that is received and understood

Communication seems to focus on the act of delivering information but not on whether it was received or understood. Oxford dictionary has only a sub-note referring to the success of communication and ...
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0answers
25 views

Is this sentence ambiguous? “For all subsets c, d belong to a, …”

I wrote a math practice question as For all subsets C, D belong to A, is it true..... What I meant was both C and D are the subsets of A. However, a student said what he understood is the ...
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1answer
42 views

Different meanings of “supported” software

Let's say I write a computer program for Linux. People pay me, they get this computer program and my support staff will "support them" using it. There is different (well, actually many) different ...
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2answers
65 views

Is there an easy way to identify whether or not a pronoun is ambiguous?

It seems like I have the most trouble with ambiguous pronouns. I wrongly assume that a pronoun is ambiguous very often. Consider these three examples: The city of Conway, Wales, now surrounds the ...
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2answers
165 views

Why is “is” not the error in this SAT sentence?

In this practice SAT question, the test-taker is required to identify the existence and location of an error in a sentence: True chalcedony is different from blue agate [in] the purity of its ...
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2answers
58 views

Connotation of “Notorious”

I used to think "notoriety" is "negative fame", but saw "The keynote speaker is notorious for his work in the field" with the obviously positive connotation. So which is it? Both?
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1answer
89 views

In what varieties of English can “does not qualify” mean “disqualifies”? [closed]

Are there any (nonstandard?) varieties (dialects/registers/styles) of English where "does not X" can mean "does the opposite of X", either in general, or specifically for the transitive verb qualify, ...
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0answers
44 views

Aramean vs. Aramaic?

What is the difference in usage between the adjectives Aramean and Aramaic? It seems that we use Aramaic to describe the language and Aramean to describe the people. But which one should we use to ...
0
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1answer
37 views

“improve upon” another party's design - meaning?

My supervisor in Japan is currently translating my CV from English into Japanese, however she has asked me to reword one sentence (in English) as to her its meaning is not what I intended it to be. ...
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6answers
461 views

What is the origin of 'as long as' meaning 'on condition that'?

According to dictionaries 'as long as' means "during a period of time" (as long as you live), but it also means "on the condition that" (I will attend the conference as long as I can arrive on time). ...
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0answers
21 views

did not think he would steal some

a. I did not think he would steal some of my ideas. b. I did not think he would steal certain of my ideas. Could these sentences have two meanings: I did not think he would steal any of my ideas. ...
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2answers
3k views

“Dial M for Murder” meaning

For me, the title of Alfred Hitchcock's film Dial M for Murder is ambiguous, it may mean either Dial M to order a murder (instead of a pizza) / for a murder to occur (similar to the previous, but ...