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

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12
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9answers
1k views

Safer alternative to “opaque”?

As a child I was taught that opaque means doesn't let any light through at all, as opposed to translucent (lets some light through, but diffused/frosted) or transparent (completely clear, lets you see ...
1
vote
2answers
97 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Is there a name for this: an idiom that ambiguously refers to itself?

Two examples I can think of: The athlete's Achilles heel was her Achilles heel. The chef's bread and butter is his bread and butter. In both cases, the order of the idiom and the thing it ...
0
votes
2answers
25 views

How to determine the right meaning of 'no not I' ? (1762, UK)

Source: The original Miller of Dee from Bickerstaffe's "Love in a village" (1762) There dwelt a miller, hale and bold, beside the river Dee; He danced and sang from morn till night, no lark so ...
-3
votes
2answers
42 views

Idiom or phrase meaning

I can not find the meaning of this phrase: perished of fits. What does it mean? It is an idiom? Thanks for help and understanding.
0
votes
0answers
25 views

“Sales” ambiguity

I'm a software developer and for a store system I need to have two tabs in a menu. One tab for listing all the "sales" (a list of every time some items have been sold) and another tab for listing ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

because I am funny, not good-looking [duplicate]

a. He likes me because I am funny, not good-looking. b. He likes me because I am funny, not because I am good-looking. In which case am I good-looking? In which case is it possible that I am ...
2
votes
3answers
62 views

I can make it, I will leave. What's the precedence and ambiguity?

Here's a scenario. I am confounded when after a discussion with a friend, they arrive at my place on Saturday, here's the transcript. her: I can make it on Saturday. me: Ok, see you then anytime! ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Is saying “back to back” an AmE or BrE usage [duplicate]

I have been often intrigued by the phrase "back-to-back". Referring to "back" is reminiscent of the rear of the human body. I usually hear- back-to-back meetings
4
votes
3answers
118 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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
57 views

“Their ”Is being used in the below sentence for whom? Please reply fast [closed]

Mental-health practitioners whose clients kill themselves can face stigma from "their colleagues".Whose Colleagues ,their own or the client?
9
votes
7answers
28k views

What is the meaning of the expression “We can table this”?

This came up in an email discussion - we are arguing about the merits and demerits of a certain approach, and I mentioned what I thought was a drawback to a scheme. To that, my colleague replied : ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

2 nights per week per month [closed]

When I asked a rehearsal studio how much time I would be allowed to use their studio if I payed the monthly fee, the reply I got was "2 nights per week per month". When I asked for clarification I ...
1
vote
5answers
51 views

Ambiguity with adverbs when using the word “or”

If you take the sentence "Bob will run or walk fast." how is the ambiguity resolved between the following two meanings? Bob will either run fast or he will walk fast. Bob will either ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

What does “what has changed with” means here?

What has changed with this tragedy is people’s willingness to recognize that religion really does make people do terrible things. This is from the latest New Republic, the author means that as ...
-3
votes
1answer
31 views

Writing a sentence being less ambiguous [closed]

I have following paragraph with two corrections. A- In the 1980s the largest single provider of day care for children was the federal government, which offered B- The federal government was the ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Calculus vs calculation

It is becoming more popular on American talk shows to say "calculus" instead of "calculation." To my mind, calculus is either a branch of Mathematics or a stone like in the gall bladder. Any comments? ...
0
votes
2answers
66 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? ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
0
votes
2answers
41 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
84 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
105 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
2answers
82 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
42 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
48 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
53 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
78 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
209 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

When is Christmas Eve Eve?

I have recently seen weather forecasters making predictions for Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Eve Night, and for Christmas Day. One also reads of Christmas Eve Eve, with two eves. Are those all ...
0
votes
2answers
43 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
40 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
55 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
34 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
396 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
119 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
87 views
14
votes
5answers
45k views

How should “midnight on…” be interpreted?

From what I understand, the word "midnight" is usually interpreted incorrectly. Midnight is written as "12am" which would imply that it's in the morning. Therefore, it should be at the start of the ...
-1
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
69 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
128 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
60 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
283 views

What is the name of the ambiguity in the phrase “I want to visit clubs with attractive women”?

I want to visit clubs with attractive women. This phrase can be interpreted in two ways: I want to visit clubs myself, but the clubs I visit should have attractive women. I want to take ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

“You could do it better” Past/Future?

While showing my work to my adviser, he uttered a sentence, "You could do it better!". Is it analogous to: You could have done better OR You can do it better (so improve it)? It seems to me this ...
4
votes
3answers
782 views

“to not get” vs “not to get”

I came across this sentence in an article, "As she speaks of her family, friends and life, it's difficult to not get that 'feel good' mood." I'm wondering if the following sentence could also mean ...
0
votes
3answers
82 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
2answers
82 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
53 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
3answers
61 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
5answers
77 views