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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
3answers
141 views

How to use the phrase “come doing” properly?

How do you use the phrase 'come doing' properly? On the one hand, 'come doing' means that someone comes for doing something. For example, "Why not come dancing tonight?". This sentence never means ...
0
votes
2answers
109 views

Comma required to avoid syntactical (but not semantic) ambiguity?

Consider this sentence: You may worry about the Fed raising interest rates, or a market meltdown, but these risks should not change your investment plans. Could the comma before "or" be omitted? ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Is “sub-project” more like “support project” or “child project”? [closed]

I have a controversy of my project's leader about the meaning of "sub-project". When we need to translate sub-project from English to our native language (Vietnamese), I think that we should ...
2
votes
1answer
141 views

why say “take” when we really mean “leave” (a piss, etc.)

The use of "take" in colloquial expressions of urination and defecation continues to both confound and amuse even the youngest of language enthusiasts. Just ask my son, who will insist with a smile ...
1
vote
3answers
421 views

How do you write the expression of disgust that sounds like “er”?

My daughter said to me this morning (the context is irrelevant): Er, it's all wet! The interjection I have written here as Er was synonymous with Yuck. Its wetness did not cause great happiness. ...
-4
votes
2answers
48 views

ambiguity of a phrase

my grammar book deals with the ambiguity of phrases. I read that "EMT Helps Raccoon Bite Victim" can grammatically - in addition to the wrong meaning that the medical personell helped a raccoon bite ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

Can “extremely professional” have a negative connotation? [closed]

If someone is described as extremely professional, might there be a negative side to it? This is how I would take it in many contexts, and I'm wondering whether it's justified. If some chap at work ...
6
votes
5answers
240 views

How to avoid ambiguity in the question: “Why do you think…?”

Let us say I want to know why the sky is blue, my understanding is that I can ask you: "Why do you think the sky is blue?" regardless of whether you have thought about it before or not. It seems from ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Commas for parenthetical info when against technicality and ambiguity

I write the following sentence as follows: "The lady spent a few seconds gently patting the two chocobos at the coach, a popular species of avian bred throughout the country". Where does one draw the ...
2
votes
2answers
574 views

You do not need to take further action/s. Action or actions?

Okay, so this as been a great bother for me over the years. As a general rule of thumb, I usually follow this format: using "a" for singular and none for plural. Like so, You do not need to take ...
0
votes
2answers
196 views

Meaning of Evenly distributed [closed]

What is the exact meaning of evenly in phrases such as: Users are evenly distributed between these types or Users were split roughly evenly among these categories does it mean on the ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Ambiguity of “just” in a context

I know that there are similar questions, but I'd like to know what's the "preferred" meaning of "just" in a specific sentence in this context. I was watching a GTA V movie, called "Meltdown". In a ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

use of expediency and entail?

I wonder if the following sentence conveys the right meaning. Even if they make a big mistake, expediency entails to forgive each other for the bigger cause of friendship. Can expediency entail ...
6
votes
3answers
671 views

“For he that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day”: wisdom or mockery?

The question is about the contemporary usage of the following distich: For he that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day ; ...and whether historical events and imprecision ...
0
votes
4answers
502 views

Why is 'weird' given a sexual connotation nowadays? [closed]

Anyone who watched the chilling ITV drama this week The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, will be aware of the context in which the tabloid news media, back in 2010/11 depicted him as a sexual ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

What does this sentence mean generally? [closed]

"I am off it" What does this sentence mean generally? I am not well, interested etc?
1
vote
1answer
316 views

Does “Friday midnight” refer to the beginning of the day on Friday or to the end? [duplicate]

I always thought it would be end of the day, but I'm not sure.
-1
votes
1answer
93 views

no more feed the children commercials (and so on) [closed]

No more feed the children commercials. With 40 million over weight americans negros to eat, the african cannibals would have food for years I don't understand causality or a causal relationship ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

This long sentence is ambiguous, and difficult for me to understand [closed]

I got this sentence Property value litigation is no different than any other type of litigation where experts are used in that expert opinions are fair game for attack by the opposing side in ...
1
vote
1answer
135 views

When did “to forgive” lose its primary meaning for pardoning and become solely about an emotional response?

During a recent debate I was having with a peer, I was shocked to find out that the word "forgive" no longer carries a primary association with the act of pardoning another individual (i.e., ...
1
vote
1answer
560 views

'Birthdate vs birthday'- I know three other people who share my birthdate

We say birthday and not birthdate Generally, birthplace is used for place of birth but not birthdate for date of birth. What is the reason that birthday scores over birthdate when it comes to ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

Words having two converse meanings [duplicate]

Many words have several meanings and some even have two converse meanings. Two examples of such words are amateur and literally as illustrated by the following: She is an art amateur. This is ...
0
votes
3answers
124 views

Modality: Modals with Continuous Aspect

I am not completely sure about the use of 'must' 'can't' and 'should' in continuous aspect. It seems that different people have different opinions, especially regarding their use to refer to the ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

What does “not perhaps” mean?

What exactly does "not perhaps" mean? I encountered it in Smith's The Wealth of Nations In Chapter I. Of The Division Of Labour: The effects of the division of labour, in the general business of ...
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Expressing Impossibility in the Future

What are the possible meanings of the following sentence: He can't be coming tomorrow. I think it has the following two possible meanings: It is impossible that he will be coming tomorrow. He is ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Most appropriate use of 'to prioritise'?

Online dictionaries I have consulted are ambiguous on this. Does 'to prioritise' something mean just to give something a priority value (eg. Low) or to set that value to 'High' (or both)? In many ...
0
votes
5answers
93 views

Does “I wouldn't do this, if it wasn't compulsory” sound natural? [closed]

Would the above sentence sound natural? If not, what would be the modification?
-1
votes
1answer
95 views

Ambiguious anaphora in a speech

On October 31, 2014, President Obama spoke on the topic of women and the economy. Here's a section of the speech. Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that ...
2
votes
3answers
62 views

How to resolve the ambiguity of “two day classes”

Two day classes will take place this week. Here, "day classes" is a compound. I don't want it to sound like it's just one class that goes on for two days.
1
vote
3answers
169 views

Is the sentence given below an example of syntactic ambiguity?

The shelf can support a heavier load compared to the others. Would this sentence be considered ambiguous? To me, the pronoun others could refer to either other shelves or other loads, but I wanted to ...
-1
votes
2answers
42 views

Difference between Interoperability and Interaction [closed]

Is there any difference between those two terms: 'Interaction' and 'Interoperability'?
0
votes
3answers
88 views

How to handle ambiguity caused by long clause and compound?

I am composing a sentence: People who have children who score A's in school and have good health are very happy. In this sentence, 'have good health' is intended to be a clause of 'people'; ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Curious words that make me suspicious

I'm curious about that curious object. I'm suspicious of that suspicious stranger. I'm dubious about that dubious plan. I can't think of any other words that allow this: using the same ...
-2
votes
3answers
86 views

How can I ask for a user's contact information? [closed]

We have an app in which users will win prizes, and we will be contacting them by email to send them their prizes. In the dialog requesting the user's email address, I've written this text: Please ...
0
votes
2answers
122 views

What does it mean: “The travel money is good for you”

Someone invited us to participate in a sportive event far away from our home country, and told us "The travel money is good for you and there will be prize money for the event". Does this mean that ...
64
votes
9answers
12k views

Why is the word “Holy” used before swear words?

People usually use the word "Holy" before "Shit", "Crap" or any other bad words to express their feelings, like surprise, anger, etc. Is there any reason why the word "Holy" is used with these bad ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Ambiguity of “bag down for a better ride”

Today I saw a sign on the train that said Bag down for a better ride. There was an accompanying picture of someone carrying a large bag on his back, possibly causing inconvenience to others: ...
15
votes
3answers
8k views

It's all downhill from here

The phrase "it was all downhill from there" seems to have two, contradictory meanings. The first indicates that things have since gotten a lot worse. For example (from ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

“A healthy amount” of sugar… so… no sugar? =( [closed]

I've always heard and used the expression "a healthy amount" to mean "a lot". But as I stirred my coffee this morning, I realized that's exactly how I described the sugar that goes in my coffee, and ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

“Ten and several minutes”: Any more natural expression?

Heat the mixture for ten and several minutes. What is a more natural way to express this “ten and several” wording, which is literally translated from Japanese? A. for between ten and 20 ...
2
votes
3answers
58 views

postmodifying phrase/under the leadership of [closed]

Are these sentences correct: Such activities found favor with the social democrats under the leadership of Schmidt. Such activities found favor with the social democrats , under the leadership of ...
-1
votes
1answer
36 views

“mine” ambiguity

I have two things: an underground site from which resources are extracted, and a proximity-triggered trap device that explodes upon triggering. Both of these are called "mine" and I cannot afford ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What does “Shall be” mean? [closed]

What does Shall be mean? I find it in different context, sometimes it seems to me that is means is or Will be and more likely Must be, but sometimes I can't figure it out, so if it means Must be, what ...
-1
votes
1answer
558 views

What is the difference between “I am able to” and “I can”? [closed]

Please, tell me the difference between these two statements.
1
vote
2answers
944 views

What's the accurate meaning of “forget yourself”?

I was looking for a translation of the German expression "bevor ich mich vergesse" (lit. before I forget myself) and looked up if the literal translation could be used. In German this expression ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

I'd know my life before I had even lived it

Girl: "I've made my decision, Father". Her Father: "You've ruined so many prospects, Lucy". Girl: "Hmm.Nothing but boys, following in their father's footsteps. I'd know my life before I ...
2
votes
1answer
443 views

Is there a word or phrase to describe ambiguous sarcasm?

To be specific, this statement refers to a phrase in which the writer/speaker's intention of being sarcastic is not disclosed to the reader/listener (deliberately or accidentally). The effect strongly ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

What is the definition of definition?

Does a definition need to provide a unique or near-unique description or can non-unique descriptions also be categorized as definitions? For example: Is the statement "An apple is a fruit" a ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Antecedent of “velocity u” in “particles moving in a medium with macroscopic velocity u”

In the following sentence, whose velocity is u—the particles or the medium? For particles moving in a medium with macroscopic velocity u: The normalized Maxwell’s distribution function (Eq. ...
1
vote
2answers
348 views

Question on a job application form

I'm helping a friend fill out a job application where a strange question appears: Do you seldom let your responsibilities interfere with having fun? (Y) (N) Am I crazy, or is this question ...