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

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19 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 ...
5
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2answers
72 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
283 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 ...
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1answer
46 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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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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2answers
404 views

Ambiguous relative clause

In the following expression, whom does 'who' refer to? The friends of the participants or the participants themselves? "The friends of the participants who were told to order soft drinks" This was ...
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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
52 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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6answers
25k views

How should I address someone with a known name and unknown gender?

When communicating with foreign cultures, the gender of the addressed person is not always clear from the name. What would be a professional way to address someone in this situation. (Dear Mr or Ms ...
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2answers
243 views

Sentence interpretation

I have been accused of a lack of reading comprehension in the following statement: Irgun later on became part of the "Jewish authorities", specifically the IDF by a self-professed wordsmith. To me, it ...
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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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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 ...
2
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1answer
195 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., ...
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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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3answers
588 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 ...
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5answers
9k views

Meaning of “to get stuffed”

What does the phrase to get stuffed mean in the following passage taken from my IELTS reading exercise? One of London Zoo’s recent advertisements caused me some irritation, so patently did it ...
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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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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 ...
0
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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 ...
2
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2answers
33k 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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1answer
45 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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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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0answers
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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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 ...
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0answers
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 ...
4
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3answers
109 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 ...
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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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4answers
6k views

What’s the difference between “line” and “row”?

I’m not exactly sure under which circumstances is line or row the more suitable term. In Portuguese, they both translate to the same word linha, which can be used for both a drawing line or for an ...
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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 ...
0
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2answers
111 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 ...
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5answers
4k views

Meaning of the full title of Darwin's “On the origin of species”

The full title of Darwin's work "On the origin of species" is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". My ...
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2answers
4k 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 ...
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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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2answers
17k views

Controversy over verb choice in “neither you nor I {is/am/are} in control”

I was watching the film A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law when this line came up, "...neither you nor I is in control..." (I can’t remember the exact words that ended the ...
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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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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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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 ...