Which of the two versions

Mr.S. was found murdered, by John

Mr.S. was found, murdered by John

means that John found the body and which one means that John was the murderer?


The first version has at least three meanings: John found the body; John did the murder; someone found Mr S murdered and lying at the side of John (we don't know if John was dead too, or merely lying there).

The second simply means that the murdered body was found and that John did the murder.

  • 2
    A reasonable question of ambiguity, this one has indeed joined a number of questions demoted, evicted, locked, and duplicked — all in the last few days. The moves seemed rash, however deserved. Especially for newbies, how about cutting them some slack? Modeling the behavior we want for ourselves, especially now, we could use the Good Teacher method: "What is 2 + 2?" "22!" "Yes, that's the answer to another question! Save it when I ask what is 11 + 11." Dec 19 '20 at 23:37
  • 5
    It would seem silly to lock a post, for problems with its content, without explaining to the author what the problem is.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 20 '20 at 1:09
  • 2
    I agree with the sentiments expressed here. There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers. We should be tolerant and welcoming or, at least, explain any negativity.
    – Anton
    Dec 20 '20 at 7:49
  • 1
    IOW...if we cannot advise the OP about issues with its content, how do we improve it? In the comment sections of an answer like this one? This is pretzel logic...and counter-productive.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 20 '20 at 21:10
  • 1
    @Cascabel Indeed I did but I am grateful to you for quoting from it. It's a gem.
    – Anton
    Dec 21 '20 at 15:09

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