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The sentence is

"Steps taken towards equality are, in fact, segregating us further."

Very simple question. Does this sentence mean All steps previously taken towards equality are resulting in more segregation, or just that multiple steps have been taken which are currently resulting in increased segregation? Basically, is it all steps which have been taken, or just more than one steps.

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    I would say "some", if only because it would be impossible to even enumerate "all" of the steps that have been taken "towards equality". However, the implication is that some relatively major "pro-equality" steps have been counter-productive. – Hot Licks Jul 24 '15 at 18:07
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    This sentence certainly means some, and it may be intended or interpreted as all; but it doesn't mean all. Pragmatics in context determines. – John Lawler Jul 24 '15 at 18:20
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    By implication, the sentence is referring to the latest steps - "segregating us further" indicates an ongoing concern. – Marconius Jul 24 '15 at 19:23
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Steps taken towards equality are, in fact, segregating us further.

The sentence doesn't explicitly say, but it can be inferred that Steps is referring to all the steps as a whole. It doesn't mean some steps and it doesn't mean all steps. It means that the general trend of the steps leads in the segregating direction.

One good analogy is electrical current. Not all particles move in the direction of the current, but rather, they move in all directions, with a trend towards one direction.

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  • You can't herd people like you can herd electrons. – Hot Licks Jul 24 '15 at 18:08
  • @HotLicks The point is the trend. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 18:10
  • Even if the trend is negative, some steps taken may not contribute to that trend, but may have a net positive effect. – Hot Licks Jul 24 '15 at 18:12
  • @HotLicks Correct. But the trend is still present. Trend doesn't mean all the steps move in the negative direction, but rather the net effect is negative for all steps combined. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 18:16
  • Actually, no. The statement does not imply that the trend is negative, but only that some unspecified set of "steps" have a net negative effect. – Hot Licks Jul 24 '15 at 18:18

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