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

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2
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4answers
221 views

“Find ten apples and oranges” Do I find 10 or 20?

If I read the sentence Find ten apples and oranges. Do I need to find ten or twenty pieces of fruit?
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1answer
1k views

Usage of “make it” in this context [closed]

Consider the following sentence . My boss (say Mr X) wrote this to me in an email and before this paragraph he actually gave a list of items that I need to work on : We will have a Webex meeting ...
2
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5answers
543 views

“the same” and “that particular one”

Consider I'm driving the same car. It sounds like me and someone else share one and the same car. But I could mean that my car is just another copy of the same model of the car. How do I express ...
2
votes
2answers
229 views

Commision on stock market

Is it correct to use word commision as a synonym to order on stock market? In meaning: an instruction from customers to brokers to buy or sell on the exchange. I know that commision is a fee or ...
2
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2answers
97 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?
2
votes
5answers
814 views

“stop to do something” vs. “continue to do something”

A transcript of a recent speech by Barack Obama contains the following sentence: Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue ...
2
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3answers
16k views

A word to describe a situation where something said has multiple meanings? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A word with a wide range of meanings Is there a word that describes a situation where someone says something that has multiple meanings? or can be taken multiple ways. An ...
2
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2answers
35k views

What does “Let me know if the problem persists” exactly mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When are “if” and “whether” equivalent? Which one is the correct meaning of "Let me know if the problem persists."? Or is it ambiguous? If the ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

What does 'disk box' mean here?

The expression is mentioned under the number 1 of the list at the bottom of the picture. The search over the internet hasn't given me a more or less clear idea of what it could be for it to match the ...
2
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2answers
379 views

How do I say “to record” meaning “to audio and video record” (in contrast to “to audio record”)?

The context here is "You should record your speech". I mean you should record both your audio (the speaking) as well as the visual (gesticulation, etc.), but the context of this sentence strongly ...
2
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2answers
80 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 ...
2
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2answers
99 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. 1.38)...
2
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1answer
261 views

When a sentence contains both “not” and “or”, which one has priority?

I am changing a piece of text which current reads: Payment not deducted to also include the situation where payments are withheld. The suggested revision of text given to me is Payment not ...
2
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2answers
167 views

How to determine if an attribute applies to a group or a specific individual

I am in the middle of an argument, and therefore trying to figure out the breakdown of the definition: a member of a military group devoted to engineering work which appears in Merriam-Webster's ...
2
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4answers
415 views

Ambiguity of “We discourage X from doing Y by using Z” [closed]

Given the sentence, We discourage people from committing crimes by using law enforcement, religion and education. I see two possible interpretations: [We discourage people by using law ...
2
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4answers
74 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, ...
2
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3answers
327 views

Could “giving aids” be ambiguous?

In Wiktionary the noun aid is defined as aid (plural aids) 1. Help; assistance; succor, relief.   He came to my aid when I was foundering. 2. A helper; an assistant.   3. Something which ...
2
votes
1answer
267 views

Charles Bukowski's “best dick” [closed]

I am reading Charles Bukowski's Pulp and as non-native English speaker I am finding decoding certain expressions challenging. For example the main character, Nicky Belane, often refers to himself ...
2
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2answers
191 views

“My late friends” — they're not dead!

Context: We're discussing about how we used to get penalized in school for being late to classes, many years ago. I wanted to say: In my old school, it was hilarious to see my late friends get ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Guidelines for interpretation of “all but a few”

For a clause of the type [all but a few X] [Y], there seem to be two possible interpretations. The first one is "Y is the case for all things/people/places, except for a few X," as in the following ...
2
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2answers
291 views

And/or in total negation: “Some people are not able to interpret and/or analyze”

In the following sentence, the “and/or” seems odd in a case of total negation: Evidently some people are not able to interpret and/or analyze at that deeper level. Because the sentence says “are not ...
2
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2answers
2k views

“adjective noun noun”: which noun does the adjective refer to (“electrical system operators”) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does the hyphen change the meaning in expressions like “high performance” and “high-performance”? Is there a grammar rule behind the hyphen in the phrase 'one-act play'? ...
2
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1answer
207 views

Parse tree of “several more successful books”

Let us consider the following sentence: After that first attempt, she wrote several more successful books. Does this mean she wrote several additional books that were also successful? Or that ...
2
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3answers
1k views

How to denote a larger distance

Suppose I have some measurement with interferometer number 1, let's call the result A, and another measurement with interferometer number 2, let's call that one B. Suppose that always A>B (in some ...
2
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1answer
547 views

Distinguish contraction of “ain't”

I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?
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2answers
66 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?
2
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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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 usage....
2
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2answers
333 views

Ambiguity in Negation: “John did not come because of the rain”

John did not come because of the rain. This sentence seems to allow the following two completely different interpretations. John did not come. And the reason was the rain. John came. But the ...
2
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3answers
9k views

Is “out” a preposition or an adverb in these sentences?

Is out a preposition or an adverb in these sentences? "We need to get the hell out of this place." "We need to get out and leave this place."
2
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1answer
223 views

Is it accurate/correct/proper to call an abusive dictator a megalomaniac?

The definition of megalomania indicates that it is the delusion of power, wealth, greatness, importance, etc. So when talking about malicious dictators, especially those known for mass murder of ...
2
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2answers
925 views

Use of Like/Unlike (Double negative)

What is the correct way? Birds are not mammals like cats. Birds are not mammals, like cats. Birds are not mammals, unlike cats. *Just in case, reminder: Cats are mammals. Birds are not mammals.
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2answers
377 views

Ambiguous? “someone lives between place A and place B” [closed]

Is this sentence: “someone lives between place A and place B” ambiguous? Depending on the cities, I wonder whether it means: "someone lives in a place C between A and B" Or, "someone keeps ...
2
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2answers
230 views

What is the term for this ambiguous sentence?

I apologize that I don't know how to search for this question--it may be a duplicate, or maybe I just should have learned it in English class! I'm a teacher, and in another StackExchange, I wrote the ...
2
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2answers
17k views

Are “that's it” and “that's all” interchangeable?

Are "that's it" and "that's all" interchangeable? Is there any specific case where I should use one instead of the other?
2
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3answers
646 views

Multiple 'as' (subordinate conjunction) in the same sentence [closed]

Performance is poor as losses have increased and are projected to remain negative going forward as the company works through problem assets and realizes related expense. Is this sentence correct? If ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Words with multiple uses

I was posed a question the other day: "Can you think of a word that can be used as a Noun, Verb or an Adjective?" One such word would be "light". Is there a rule for identifying such words? (See ...
2
votes
1answer
566 views

Is this sentence ambiguous?

I was reading my apartment lease recently, and I came across this sentence in the rent section: "Lessee will pay a penalty of $16.00 for rent that is unpaid before the 6th of the month." The ...
2
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3answers
59 views

Meaning of 'be bond to' in “since ye are bond to that magic” in 19th-century poem [closed]

I am reading a poem by Rudyard Kipling, Kitchener's School (http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_kitchener.htm) and I am wondering about the precise meaning/possible connotations of the verb 'be bond ...
2
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2answers
53 views

Does this sentence regarding “coleopteran” make sense? [closed]

There's some ambiguity between Polish and English ( as far as beetles are concerned). Please help me determine if this sentence makes any sense at all. Thank you. I know that a (forest) dung ...
2
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3answers
248 views

Reading Comprehension question [closed]

Here is a GRE practice question that I have an issue with. It is given here, Question #7. Passage: French cuisine is highly regarded all over the world. Yet in Paris there are more ...
2
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2answers
127 views

“She left small pins in the shoes he wore to injure his feet” – is this ambiguous?

She left small pins in all the shoes he wore to injure his feet. I wrote this sentence and I thought it was fine. When I re-read it, the meaning became unclear to me. I want it to mean that she put ...
2
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3answers
76 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.
2
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1answer
247 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: ...
2
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2answers
178 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
1answer
976 views

What is the meaning of “cooling relations”?

Sometimes relations between nations can be considered to be "cooling"? What does this mean? I can't tell if it means: The relationship is getting better because it's "cooling-off" from "hot" ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

“Feeling well” adverb ambiguity

Am I just crazy, or is there some ambiguity in the phrase "feeling well"? Example: Billy has a genetic defect that causes him to lose sensation in his fingertips every few days, or so. "How are you ...
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1answer
2k views

“sallow complexion”

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, in several places he describes people having a "sallow complexion". According to Collins dictionary: Sallow (esp of human skin) of an unhealthy pale or ...
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1answer
1k views

Justice as a title … where does it come from?

In the US supreme court judges, among others, are called "justice [name]". Where is this use rooted? Obviously the term comes from Latin "justitia" originally, but that means justice as in the the ...
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4answers
1k views

Does the word “Loyal” have other meaning than “remaining faithful to somebody/something and supporting them or it?

I found the following definition in the answer to “What are pimps and hoes?” in Music Genres Questions in Wiki.answer.com.: “A pimp is a loyal person who pimps out girls of so called hoes ...