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

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7
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4answers
487 views

Ambiguous syntax tree and phrase structure rules

I’m studying for a final for my English Linguistics class and going through example sentences that we should be able to draw syntax trees for. The sentence He looked at the dog with one eye was marked ...
0
votes
0answers
78 views

Unnamed vs Nameless

I've scouted around and found that: Unnamed defined is "not having being given a name" Nameless defined is "not having a name / unknown as to what the name is My main question is what is the term ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Is there a precedence of clauses in a sentence without commas, or is it just ambiguous?

I have been asked to make symbolic translation of an English sentence during a formal logic exam, which I believed to be rather ambiguous. The TA asserted that the sentence is not ambiguous, and the ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

why the following answer is not correct?

Which of the following statements is the best paraphrase of the highlighted sentence? On a more optimistic note however, humans are fully capable of overcoming limitations once we have identified ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Why does “eastwardly” have two opposite meanings?

"Eastwardly" can mean either from the east or to the east. How does one use it without ambiguity?
-1
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1answer
57 views

Ambiguous or Unambiguous? [closed]

a. John will arrive at the station in five minutes. b. John will eat the pizza in five minutes. c. John will play football in five minutes. Which sentence triggers ambiguity? and How?
4
votes
3answers
113 views

What does 'measuring cast' mean? (1660, UK)

Source: 'Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance', by Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal. How do you ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

Which independent clause should a sentence immediately following a coordination of the two independent clauses be interpreted to refer to?

Consider the following coordination of two independent clauses (joined by "but"): Homework is due in my office hour on Tuesday, but (emphasis added) you may hand it to me earlier, e.g., in lecture ...
2
votes
2answers
121 views

“Each” in potential subject position in compound sentence always pronoun?

This question is related to: "Each" — pronoun or adverb The sentence in that question is: M and W are letters and each has 4 strokes In that sentence, how do we know that “each” is a ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

The meaning of ''give up''

If Molière had given himself up to his abyss, Pascal — with his — would look like a journalist. E. M. Cioran, All Gall is Divided What does ''give up'' means here? Does it mean that Molière decided ...
0
votes
2answers
126 views

class vs. group

So this is what I get from dictionary.com: class: a number of persons or things regarded as forming a group by reason of common attributes, characteristics, qualities, or traits; kind; sort: a ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

what is the difference between the following 2 sentences in their meaning regarding the word 'just'? [closed]

You have to push this button. You have to just push this button. What role does the word 'just' play in the sentence above?
0
votes
4answers
103 views

Can “harsh” be used as a noun?

I came across the word "harsh" used as a noun today. For example: I consistently showed up late to work, which turned out to be a harsh on my ambitions. The above example is very recent (from ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

The relationship between and correct usage of the words Chronometry and Horology

Wikipedia for 'Chronometry' states: Chronometry applies to electronic devices, while Horology refers to mechanical devices. While on 'Horology', Wikipedia describes it in more detail, creating ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

What does “fail successfully” mean? [closed]

From reading the words it sounds like teaching someone how to fail, however I hear people use it to motivate others to succeed!. So what does the expression "fail successfully" mean? Also, are there ...
0
votes
0answers
82 views

Roboticist v.s. Robotician

I am wondering about the right word to explain the people, are who involved in the robotics realm. I've seen both Roboticist and Robotician within the technical literature. But I have no idea about ...
1
vote
1answer
332 views

What does “pending publication” mean?

When you have submitted a manuscript to a publisher, and the publisher is still reviewing it to see whether they should publish it or not. Does that mean that your manuscript is pending review or ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

“This boys hat”: Ambiguity of demonstative with possessive

A. [This boy]’s hat is cute. B. This [boys’ hat] is cute. In sentence A, "this" modifies "boy," and in sentence B, "this" modifies "boy's hat," as the brackets show. Questions What is ...
0
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0answers
27 views

How would one specify that Noun 2 in “[Prepositional phrase] [Noun 1] and [Noun 2]” is not an object of the prepositional phrase?

I will give an example of this problem. In fact, this example is the reason why I am asking! I am blending a quote taken from a book into an assignment on which I am currently working. (Don't worry, I ...
0
votes
3answers
36 views

Does using 2 Present Simple verbs create ambiguity in their ordering?

One of the Facebook configuration features has the following label: "If you don't want a Facebook account after you pass away, you can request to have your account permanently deleted." My friend ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

“The spell can cause much damage to enemies with special effects on them”: is it ambiguous?

It is a description about a skill of an hero in a game and it goes like this: The spell can cause much damage to enemies with special effects on them. After I wrote it down, I wondered: would a ...
0
votes
2answers
22 views

“at once” ambiguous between simultanous and immediate

I have a statement that uses "at once". It is supposed to mean "in one sweep" but the longer I look at it, the more it sounds to me like "immediately". What would you suggest? Keep it or change it? ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Ambiguity of if-clause

I'm not an English speaker, so my question might seem a little bit weird, but I'm truly confused. I saw some other cases like this one, which caused me to question what they really meant. There's a ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

whether - followed by positive or negative form?

''Pascal attempted the experiment of seeing whether, with the aid of the most incisive knowledge, everyone could not be brought to despair: the experiment miscarried, to his twofold despair.'' ...
0
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0answers
25 views

Should less be repeated to clarify it applies to a series?

For a sentence like this: That setting results in a less firm and stable surface. Is it clear that less applies to both firm and stable or should it be repeated to avoid ambiguity between the ...
1
vote
1answer
246 views

Interpretation of ambiguous sentence “You Can’t Put Too Much Water into a Nuclear Reactor”

"You Can’t Put Too Much Water into a Nuclear Reactor" This sentence is from a book, "The Definitive ANTLR 4 Reference" authored by Terence Parr. The author used this sentence as an example of ...
0
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0answers
41 views

What does “sanction” actually mean? [duplicate]

I have read this word quite often and always tried to elicit its meaning from the context and circumstances in which it was said.. More often than not I took it as a word for official ban or penalty.. ...
0
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0answers
25 views

When or where did “sth” come to mean “something”? [duplicate]

This is not the same question as What is meant by "sth"? although one of it's answers is a partial answer to this question. This question does not relate to "what does sth mean?" but those ...
0
votes
2answers
157 views

Would you consider “sound idea” (usable as) a pun?

Today I read this comment in the Csound mailing list see full post (emphasis mine): The interface could be polished, IMO, but the idea is sound [...] it took me (as a German native speaker) a ...
1
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3answers
101 views

What is the word for a statement which most probably is wrong but is said to convey a different meaning?

Example : Paul McCartney said "If Slaughter Houses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian." Now, it also means that everyone who works at a slaughter house is a vegetarian. But, what Paul ...
1
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0answers
91 views

The meaning of “pure” vs “clear”

So I'd like to express the "clearness" (in sense of elegance) of some spatial shapes (BTW not sure about this phrase, probably "spatial forms" is more correct). I'm going to use either "pure" or "...
0
votes
2answers
96 views

France-educated or French-educated

If a renowned scholar was born, let's say, in Japan, and he/she receives a Nobel Prize thanks to a dissertation he/she wrote in France after studying there for a master's degree and a doctor's degree, ...
0
votes
2answers
96 views

Problems with pronouns (ambiguity)

Mary likes John a lot, but Cindy doesn't. She(Cindy) doesn't allow him to talk to her(Cindy), because she(Cindy) thinks he is annoying. Although the pronouns in bold are intended to refer back to ...
4
votes
1answer
138 views

How to parse “Do you have the time?” correctly

When someone asks "Do you have the time?", my first instinctive response is: "The time for what?" I have to think for a few more seconds to realize that the question was actually "What time is it?" ...
-1
votes
1answer
66 views

What does 'helping handis' mean? [closed]

It's the name of an American Dad episode i.e. Helping Handis. Stan tries to help Steve to become more masculine by injecting him with some hormones, but instead Steve grows boobies. Is handis the ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “as good as it gets” mean?

Is it meant as a compliment or is it more acceptance of a situation? For instance, having loved a partner who died and feeling that you could never feel that way about anyone again and then describing ...
1
vote
2answers
266 views

Meaning of “appear” in “She appears to have had two children”

What is the meaning of appear in the following examples: She appears to have had two children. He appears to have been elected as the first pope outside of Europe. Their aircraft appears to have ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Sawmills vs other mills [closed]

A flour mill makes flour. A paper mill makes paper. A puppy mill breeds puppies. But a sawmill makes... saws? No - it uses saws to make wood products. Can anyone explain the etymology or language ...
-1
votes
1answer
64 views

Ambiguity in this sentence?

Is this sentence ambiguous: Licensor grants licensee one license to install and use this software on as many computers owned and operated by employees of your company That is, who owns the ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

meaning of “quite+adjective” in Canadian English

I am translating a Canadian article, and here's a sentence I need some help with: There are innumerable colour choices when choosing gladioli corms but until recent years, those colours classed ...
1
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0answers
184 views

I wonder if _____ will show up at the meeting?

I wonder if _____ will show up at the meeting? a. someone b. anyone c. one d. everyone I know the answer isn't someone or one. I'm more confused between the other two options,...
0
votes
1answer
198 views

“Up until 8th” - including 8th or not? [duplicate]

I've got this message from my friend: "I'll be pretty busy basically up until the 8th November." In this case, which is correct, he will be pretty busy including 8th or he will not be pretty busy from ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Is the following sentence ambiguous?

Bob bought Anna's house. Does this mean Bob bought a house from Anna, or Bob bought Anna's house for her, or both?
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Religious vs spiritual?

Is there a difference beween being religious and being spiritual? Or for that matter, is there any such thing as a "Spiritual Atheist"? Writings supporting the idea that the two are different: ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “I don't suffer from insanity” mean? [closed]

I'm pretty confused about a quote I've read on a website. It was written: I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it. I'd like to know what it really means when a person says this....
1
vote
1answer
106 views

Is “my class” generally understood as “the class I'm attending” or “the class I'm teaching”?

Example: I refused her invitation to join her swimming class. For a native English speaker, does it read as "I refused her invitation to join the swimming class she's attending" or "I refused ...
0
votes
3answers
63 views

“Do not … and …” grammar confusion

I recently read this sentence: Do not declare this callback function with a void return type and cast the function pointer to LPTHREAD_START_ROUTINE when creating the thread. and wasn't sure if ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Precise interpretation of “in excess of”

I'd like to have some precision on the meaning of "in excess of" in following sentence. Commissions in excess of 180% of quota in a given fiscal year will be calculated at 0.3x of the base rate. ...
1
vote
2answers
38 views

Ambiguity of “… is not to …” [duplicate]

The purpose is not to dance like an elephant. I see two ways of interpreting this sentence: It is incorrect to say that "dance like an elephant" is the goal. The objective is to prevent dancing ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

The front and back door(s) are red [duplicate]

If I have only one front door, and only one back door, and they are both red. Which is correct: The front and back door are red; The front and back doors are red. I feel that (1) looks ...