3

Here is a quote from a menu:

Our eclairs always come in a wide range of different flavors. We keep our most popular available all year round while others rotate and change seasonally.

I'm concerned that the others can be misinterpreted as "in other restaurants" in this case. How can I avoid this possible ambiguity? Is it enough to use the others or is it always about the items mentioned before?

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  • You could replace it with ...while other flavours rotate... to make clear you're talking of the eclairs. Jun 8 '18 at 15:17
  • Could be the eclairs themselves rotate, like hot dogs for sale at a concessions stand. Or perhaps we keep ours all year while other vendors rotate like ballerinas. Keep on the lookout for easily confused readers like me. Or rather, "as I do."
    – Chaim
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:49
  • @Chaim: From The Good Beer Guide, 2018: Two guest ales change regularly. If guest ales can change or rotate "themselves", why can't eclairs? Jun 8 '18 at 17:21
  • @FumbleFingers Perhaps they can, and more power to 'em. But if I could rotate myself, I wouldn't need the liniment.
    – Chaim
    Jun 8 '18 at 17:32
  • @Chaim Those are extremely perverse interpretations, and common sense rejects them. No one would be confused like that unless they were deliberately looking for ways to misinterpret this. However, the OP's concern that "others = other restaurants" is a reasonable misinterpretation.
    – Barmar
    Jun 8 '18 at 22:27
1

The obvious way to avoid ambiguity (as to whether the other eclairs are also ours, or are made by the competition) is simply to repeat the subject of the verb1...

We keep our most popular available all year round, while others we rotate and change seasonally.

(That's also my added comma before while.)


1 Strictly speaking, the "subject" of the verb rotate in OP's original verb is others = other eclairs - but in context, ignoring the contrived ambiguity over who did the rotating (if it's not a "reflexive" act ascribed to the eclairs themselves), it would normally be fair to say that...

1: We rotate our eclair flavours every month
2: Eclair flavours are rotated every month
3: Eclair flavours rotate every month

...are equivalent in meaning (and are all idiomatic), regardless of the strict syntactic "verb subject".

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I think "others" means "other flavors". The most popular are available year round, while the less popular flavors rotate and change seasonally. The reasons I have for this is that:

  1. "rotate" and "change" are used intransitively. If "others" meant "other restaurants", then it should be "others rotate and change flavors seasonally".

  2. The first part of the sentence specifies that only the most popular flavors are kept year round, which sets up an expectation that the less popular ones will be discussed later.

  3. The prior sentence says that there are a lot of flavors. Keeping popular ones year round would not increase the variety, but rotating the less popular ones would.

The ambiguity could be resolved by including the noun: "other flavors rotate and change seasonally".

Your title mentions "rest". "Rest" would be appropriate only if it's true of all others.

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A simpler solution would be to remove the comparative nature of the word 'while'.
Using 'while' counters the one set of flavours with another, and leads to the possible confusion of the 'other' being another restaurant.

Use 'and'.

It's a menu. Keep it succint. It's also more positive.

We keep our most popular available all year round and rotate others seasonally.

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There are several ways to do this. The simplest would be to reorganize the sentence so that the flavors are the subject instead of the restaurant.

"Our most popular flavors are available all year round, while other flavors rotate and change seasonally."

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