# How should this sentence be interpreted?

Imagine a scenario where Adam has to fight through multiple robots each day. Each of these robots is designed to throw punches. However, Adam has a secret power that can magically change their behavior. Adam explains:

During my first encounter each day with a robot, whenever it would throw a punch at me, instead it throw a weak kick at me.

Assuming Adam has to encounter three different robots today that attempt to throw punches at him, how many would instead throw a weak kick?

At first, I thought it's only one robot (the first robot Adam encounters today), but a few people think that the sentence is too ambiguous. They said it could also be three robots because Adam "first encounters" each of these robots. So I'm confused about the meaning of "first encounter."

• 'First encounter' is clear, DD. It's whether 'In my first encounter each day with a robot' means 'When I encounter my first robot of the day' or 'The first time I encounter any given robot on any given day'. It is ambiguous. Dec 29, 2022 at 20:00
• It's an ungainly sentence and there are better ways of expressing it, depending on how many encounters there were, what happened on subsequent encounters, etc, maybe "The first time I met each robot each day, it weakly kicked me instead of punching." Also, "to throw a kick" isn't a usual idiom. The verb "kick" is probably your best option, or maybe "make a kick". But aside from that, I agree that if you think about it, it is unambiguous. Dec 29, 2022 at 21:34
• I'm not entirely sure what the specific question is. Asking for proof-reading advice isn't allowed, so I guess you want to know something about what "first encounter" means and if it could mean first encounter of the day or first encounter with a new person or both? Dec 29, 2022 at 21:35
• The sentence is missing something, but must apply to a single meeting with one robot. Instead of a punch, that first robot threw a weak kick, per Adam's power to change the punch. Dec 29, 2022 at 21:58

The following sentence is poorly worded:

During my first encounter each day with a robot, whenever it would throw a punch at me, instead it throw a weak kick at me.

What the writer is attempting to say might be this:

Each day during my first encounter with a robot, instead of throwing a punch at me it threw a weak kick.

If the writer wants to make clear that there was more than one robot involved in these daily confrontations, s/he could say:

Each day during my first encounter with each of three robots, instead of throwing a punch at me, each one threw a weak kick.

• If I am already aware that there is more than one robot involved, the second sentence is still ambiguous. It could be saying that my first encounter with each robot each day enables the use of my magic power, or that my encounter with the first robot each day enables the use of my magic power. Dec 29, 2022 at 19:01