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You are blessed if you have a good set of friends.

Apparently "you have a good set of friends" can have two readings:

(1) you have numerous friends

(2) you have many friends such that all of the friends are good

Which one is correct?

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    Is there any more context for the original sentence? The use of 'blessed' suggests goodness but it's not a certainty based on the sentence alone. Apr 11, 2023 at 9:24
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    Many sentences containing "a good set of" can be found on Internet. Is this construction inherently polysemous?
    – thatness
    Apr 11, 2023 at 9:28
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    Hello, thatness. Could you add dictionary definitions showing that 'good' itself is indeed polysemous? Merriam-Webster perhaps goes overboard here. It might be difficult to find dictionary definitions for the whole expression. Sometimes the set is well-defined, forcing the 'good quality' sense ('a good set of darts / chessmen // lungs // ...'). Sometimes, still ambiguous ('a good set of pans / knives // young players // ...'). Apr 11, 2023 at 9:49
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    Yes, it's inherently ambiguous. A good set can refer to the size of a set, or to its 'goodness of fit', i.e, quality in whatever purpose the set is mentioned for. Mind you, all English sentences are multiply ambiguous in print, since intonation is not represented in writing. But this is ambiguous even in speech. Apr 11, 2023 at 14:38
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    In Case you want to state that the Set is good : use "a good set of friends". In Case you want to state that the friends are good : use "a set of good friends". It is ambiguous when we state "a good friend set" : hence try to avoid using that.
    – Prem
    Apr 11, 2023 at 18:38

1 Answer 1

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In a comment John Lawler wrote:

Yes, it's inherently ambiguous. A good set can refer to the size of a set, or to its 'goodness of fit', i.e, quality in whatever purpose the set is mentioned for. Mind you, all English sentences are multiply ambiguous in print, since intonation is not represented in writing. But this is ambiguous even in speech.

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