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

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0answers
53 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
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1answer
35 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
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2answers
39 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
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2answers
281 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
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1answer
52 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
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3answers
704 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
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3answers
44 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
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2answers
61 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
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1answer
37 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
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3answers
48 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
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5answers
66 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?
0
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1answer
13 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 ...
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1answer
65 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 ...
7
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1answer
6k 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 ...
1
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2answers
38 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
49 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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3answers
105 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 ...
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2answers
30 views

Difference between Interoperability and Interaction [closed]

Is there any difference between those two terms: 'Interaction' and 'Interoperability'?
2
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2answers
147 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 ...
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votes
3answers
50 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 ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Use of “Or”, inclusive or exclusive?

My wife and I are playing a game where you roll dice and move so many spaces in a grid "vertically or horizontally". In the use of English it is very common to say, this or the other when it comes ...
0
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1answer
82 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
21k views

Nerd vs. Geek vs. Dork [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: “geek” or “nerd”? I'm somewhat perplexed on the usages of these terms. Most references appear an ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Does “speak in a low voice” refer to volume/loudness or to pitch?

Does the low in Speak in a low voice! He said in a low voice. refer to the volume/loudness or to the pitch? Does it mean quiet, or low-frequency? EDIT: After understanding from your ...
4
votes
2answers
272 views

Why does the word “tortilla” refer to three distinct types of edibles?

The crisps[BrEn]/chips[AmEn] that are made of corn (and probably not deep-fried) are called tortilla: The wraps with that special taste, are called tortila: And then, the omelet-like meal is ...
60
votes
9answers
11k 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 ...
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3answers
85 views

If X was not part Y, I'd like it - meaning

I'm trying to fill out a survey that asks me about features that should or should not be included in a smartphone app. The actual questions are confidential, but it's in the style of a sentence like ...
32
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4answers
6k views

“Two yellow spots on its wings” vs “a yellow spot on both wings”

The bird has two yellow spots on its wings. versus The bird has a yellow spot on both wings. Do they mean the same? Which one describes more accurately the yellow spots of the following bird? ...
0
votes
2answers
69 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

3 meter square area vs 3 square meter area

A. 3 meter square area B. 3 square meter area I’m wondering what the easiest way is to clearly express the difference between A and B above. In A, one side is 3 (meters). In B, one side is ...
2
votes
1answer
63 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: ...
14
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3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

The meaning of: “Why don't you just beat it?”

I would like to know what does this phrase means: "Why don't you just beat it?" My dictionary says only that: beat it: get lost Can you beat it? : Do you get it?
2
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3answers
54 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 ...
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1answer
32 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
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2answers
489 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 ...
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1answer
89 views
1
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1answer
161 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
0
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2answers
197 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
67 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 ...
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8answers
11k views
2
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2answers
67 views

Antedecent 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. ...
0
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2answers
129 views

Why does i.e mean that is? [closed]

I learned that i.e means : that is or in other words but how does this make sense? shouldn't it be: t.i in this case?
1
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2answers
145 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 ...
1
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1answer
55 views

What is the meaning of lemniscate related with clothing? [closed]

Here is lemniscate is used as a part or feature of clothing. What doses it mean ? TIA
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8answers
5k views

Ambiguity of “quite”

The adverb "quite" has the following meanings according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1: wholly, completely ("not quite finished") 2: to an extreme : positively "quite sure" —often ...
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2answers
80 views

“She was not happy.” - Ambiguity of the 'to be' in English

I always think about this since in my language (Portuguese) the verb 'to be' has two meanings for which I will give two examples: "She was in the room." - here the verb to be has the meaning of ...
1
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2answers
567 views

Why do they say “may not” for things which people shouldn't do

I have seen in so many place where they would have mentioned "You may not.." etc for the things people shouldn't do. For eg: in companies where USB is not allowed, they will mention like this "You may ...
0
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2answers
41 views

The first live processing date is December 29, 2014 for the pay period of December 22, 2014 to December 28, 2014 [duplicate]

The question I have is the use of the word "to" in the phrase "to December 28". Does the "to" definitely include December 28th, or is it (as I think it is) ambiguous? The way it reads, I feel it is ...