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Questions tagged [ambiguity]

This tag is for questions about words or phrases that have multiple meanings and can thus be understood in different ways. If your question is about different words that can be easily mixed up or confused use the tag CONFUSABLES instead.

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Ambiguity in Singapore’s extradition act? [closed]

I refer to the interpretation part of Singapore’s extradition act: Does the foreign state here mean just “any foreign state” or “any foreign state between which and Singapore an extradition treaty is ...
selectivitism's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
8 views

Prepositional phrases in the end of sentences made A LOT OF ambiguity, But FEW people on web don't raise the questions? [migrated]

PPs are making a lot of ambiguity in sentences especially in the end of sentences. In the structures like VERB+NOUN+PPs. There are two interpretations. One is that PPs is adverbial modifying the VERB, ...
杨啸天's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

new possibilities generated by these activities coupled with selection

Development of the human body from a single cell provides many examples of the structural richness that is possible when the repeated production of random variation is combined with nonrandom ...
Mcreaper's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
3k views

Are there examples of triple entendres in English?

I don't know if triple entendres exist. I did a lot of online research, but I what I found were examples of double entendres. There were examples that claimed to be triple entendres, but they had one ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
813 views

Usage and meaning of “may have” in this context

The man may have died a week ago in a car accident, but his legacy will long change the world for the better. When we know for sure that the man actually died a week ago in a car accident, can we ...
Sasan's user avatar
  • 3,462
4 votes
2 answers
105 views

Adverb modifying two other adverbs

In the phrase "can express herself very fluently and precisely," does "very" modify both "fluently" AND "precisely"? Or just "fluently"? Or is it ...
LMR's user avatar
  • 77
1 vote
0 answers
63 views

Adjective about eyes

I'm trying to understand a passage from White Light Nights by O. O. McIntyre : Here an old woman, with chrome-colored face and the enduring eyes of the beaten. What does 'enduring eyes' really mean? ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
38 views

He doesn’t go fishing with friends(,) as he once promised [ [not] to]

I am trying to translate a sentence. Which is the correct interpretation? He doesn’t go fishing with friends(,) as he once promised. = He doesn’t go fishing with friends, as he once promised to. He ...
sanya6's user avatar
  • 25
1 vote
2 answers
41 views

Usage of In and Within difference

This has been asked before but I didn't understand. I am no English student, but can someone explain how these two statements could mean different things? Xylem and Phloem within a vascular bundle ...
Hdje's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
1 answer
53 views

Confused with a sentence mixing conjunctions without commas

These are the exclusions wording of my home insurance policy: LPG fuelled, oil fired, warm air, solar and unvented heating systems or boilers with an output over 60Kw/hr I have an “unvented heating ...
Lucky Brain's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
128 views

Sharp sweet smell

What does "sharp" in sharp-sweet mean ? It's referred to a "smell of sweat" in my text. Does that mean more like "acrid" unpleasant irritating or "penetrating" &...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
92 views

Meaning of "How many Euros can be exchanged for 5 USD?"

Take the question How many euros can be exchanged for 5 USD? I see two possible meanings: It's asking about the amount of Euros that we must exchange to exchange to get 5 USD It's asking about the ...
Piezo's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
0 answers
57 views

How to distinguish these two senses of characteristic or attribute?

There are two different senses in which we use the word "attribute"; for example, I can describe someone as "blond", which is a hair color. We say "blond" is a ...
Nemo Nobody's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

"you get A instead of B, as with C", then who goes with C?

In Shane Cook's book CUDA Programming 2012, page 87, there is such a sentence: As a consequence you get two transactions instead of one, as with the stripe layout. The author talks about two kind of ...
Jimm Chen's user avatar
  • 349
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

We know how expensive we are

We know how expensive we are. I cannot for the life of me decide if this is supposed to be interpreted as a complement clause or an embedded question or what. My thought process so far is that it ...
RM Translations's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
415 views

Does "assess the use of two strategies by this business as an effective strategy" mean that both strategies have to be effective, or is it ambiguous?

I am currently discussing with someone whether this question means one or two things. The question is as follows: With reference to a business you have studied, assess the use of two strategies by ...
Tyler's user avatar
  • 29
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

How to detach a noun modifier so it clearly stays a modifier?

A noun modifier is a noun as an attribute of an other noun, like the “edge” in “edge case”. If the modifier is an adjective, it may be detached from a main noun. If the modifier is a noun, I think ...
matj1's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
108 views

How do you avoid ambiguity without using multiple possessive nouns when using relative structures?

I'm writing some research that involves explaining some relational data structures. I frequently find it very difficult to remove ambiguity from the sentences I am trying to write. For example, the ...
Jonathan's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
111 views

Does a suffix need to be an affix?

I understand that according to Collins Dictionary, a suffix is an affix that follows the stem to which it is attached, as for example -s and -ness in dogs and softness. It has, however, a second ...
Nicolas Othmar's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

Why use "modeless" as the opposite of "modal" in UI design? [closed]

"Modeless" is widely used which is not in the dictionary such as "Modal and Modeless Dialog Boxes". Why they do not use "modaless"? If "Modal" is the adjective ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 11
4 votes
1 answer
90 views

Is there a name for this "or" ambiguity?

Consider the following sentence, paying particular attention to how the word "or" functions: These days, kids begin participating in sports at as young as three years old, among the most ...
tkp's user avatar
  • 296
1 vote
1 answer
144 views

Which is correct? brrr v brr v brrrrr [closed]

I have come across brrr and brr - which is someone indicating that they are cold. So which spelling is correct? Or can you be REALLY cold - BRRRRRR! Interjections! Aha!
Wordman's user avatar
  • 11
-1 votes
1 answer
64 views

Possessive determiners, ambiguous references, and the question of the relevance of context [duplicate]

I know there are some threads and websites on the topic but unfortunately I continue to wonder about the issue of possessive determiners and ambiguous references. Two examples: 1: Sabine, the new ...
Johnny Silverhand's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
57 views

Is this an ambiguous use of "prior to" to convey logical precedence? [closed]

Consider the following sentence: Volcanic eruptions could not account for the high rate of the global collapse of ecosystems prior to the K-T extinction event. The usage of "prior to" is ...
Zongshu Wu's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
35 views

"Export settings" disambiguation and meaning

"Export settings" disambiguation and meaning. The aforementioned quotation is ambiguous. As I see it, it could mean either of the following: Export (verb) settings ---> Action of ...
ARGYROU MINAS's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
47 views

Disambiguation: "agree to an appointment within 24 hours" [duplicate]

Was taking some work notes, and the line: He goes M.I.A. when I don’t agree to an appointment within 24 hours Gave me pause. It could mean either: He goes M.I.A. after 24 hours since I didn't get ...
Malachi's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

"a to b" vs "a through b" [duplicate]

Is there a fundamental difference between 'a to b' and 'a through b'? In my specific case, 'a' and 'b' are dates. Is one inclusive of 'b' and the other ... not inclusive? Ambiguous?
mankoff's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
0 answers
28 views

Is this phrase ambiguous "up to 15 mins prior to"? [duplicate]

I came across this sentence. "Click here to visit the event page and select 'Join now' up to 15 minutes prior to start time." What does that really mean? That we should join in the last 15 ...
peter.petrov's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
148 views

Gemination of plosives in final positions following a consonant

Whenever a plosive like p,t,k follows a consonant in the final position, it is always released or else it can't be heard at all. For example: lamp, act, thank, etc. Yet in the word lamppost, the first ...
Brack Bruno's user avatar
9 votes
9 answers
3k views

Is the meaning of "Either latitude or longitude needs to be provided!" exclusive or inclusive?

The error message for a computer dialogue box reads as follows: Either latitude or longitude need to be provided! (mistakenly using the incorrect need in the plural for singular needs) Does this ...
halloleo's user avatar
  • 498
5 votes
3 answers
517 views

Algebraic interpretation of ambiguous verbal expressions [closed]

I am helping my daughter with Algebra. She has been asked to generate algebraic expressions for each of the following verbal statements: "Five times the quantity of x squared plus m, minus two ...
k876's user avatar
  • 51
3 votes
1 answer
130 views

Is it correct to say something like "An issue is being had by them"

One can say "We're having this issue". But is it too awkward to, instead, say "This issue is being had by us", or would the meaning change completely?
sequence's user avatar
  • 161
1 vote
1 answer
27 views

with something to recommend it

I'm reading an Economist report on mending an algorithm-related law called Section 230 and the last sentence (the part in bold, to be specific) confuses me a bit: When platforms “alert specific users”...
Jinx Pred's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
46 views

What does "regularly" refer to in this?

Can anyone help me find out what "regularly" modifies in the following excerpt? (My emphasis) If we heard that an alien species had a word that could be meaningfully used to describe things ...
Saeed Zargarian's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
61 views

Speed Checked By Radar: Synhermeneia?

Is there a word to describe an ambiguous phrase whose alternate meanings all happen to be relevant and true in the context? The example that fascinates me is the road sign "Speed Checked By Radar&...
Purplie's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
32 views

Does the question "when did Alice tell you she would go?" ask about the date the plans were talked about or when she plans to go?

Here is the situation: Alice told Bob on Monday that she would go to the zoo on Friday. Now, if I ask Bob: "Hey Bob, when did Alice tell you she would go to the zoo?" Will Bob answer Monday ...
hydradon's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
1 answer
220 views

What is the difference between "I have three people in my family" vs "I have three people in my household"? [closed]

What is the difference between "I have three people in my family, my wife and our son" vs "I have three people in my household, my wife and our son" ? Does "in the my ...
Qiulang 邱朗's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
641 views

The activity starts next week or starts from next week?

Which one is correct, the activity starts next week or starts from next week? And why? Longman Dictionary has this entry for 'start' in this sense: intransitive, transitive: to begin happening, or to ...
Qiulang 邱朗's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
527 views

What is the term for this sort of ambiguity? [duplicate]

"Scientists discover emperor penguin colony in Antarctica using satellite images" This is the title of an article in the Guardian newspaper today. There must be some clever penguins down ...
Anton's user avatar
  • 28.8k
5 votes
4 answers
530 views

Meaning of words "bake" and "painting" in context of cars

A sticker near the door inside a car said: Exposing a battery to intense heat may cause deterioration. Do not bake over 158F/30min or 176F/20 min in painting. I understand the first sentence, ...
john's user avatar
  • 51
0 votes
0 answers
22 views

Words attaining different meanings [duplicate]

If jail and prison are (at least nearly) synonymous, why does jailer refer to the captor, and prisoner refer to the captive? Are there similar examples?
Ravindran Solomon's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
33 views

Using "task force" in an international academic context

I am currently setting up a working group within an international scientific association. The working group gathers American, Japanese, Chinese, New Zealander, and a few European research fellows. I ...
Covich's user avatar
  • 103
0 votes
0 answers
141 views

What is the name of the ambiguity in "he loves a woman"?

What Are Scope Ambiguities? has the example Every man loves a woman. And says that it is scopally ambiguous because these two possible readings exist: "for every man, there is a woman, and it'...
minseong's user avatar
  • 3,526
1 vote
1 answer
120 views

Answers to a negative statement that then ends in ", right?"

There are lots of answers here on how to answer to negative questions like "Don't you ...?", e.g. How to answer a negative question without ambiguity?. But I am not sure about answers to a ...
Evgeniy Berezovsky's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
238 views

Ambiguous meaning for a comma?

I saw the following on a bottle of soy sauce, and don't know if it could be interpreted multiple ways: No artificial colour, flavour added The question is if flavour is added or not. The comma could ...
Polygorial's user avatar
-1 votes
3 answers
387 views

A groups of reviews - „assessment“ vs „evaluation“

I'm looking for the nuanced difference in meaning of words: „assessment“, „evaluation“ and „review“ - in the specific context of „reviewing“ various products. As far as I understand, the main ...
Patrik Šimunič's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
102 views

'that' vs. 'which'/'who' when multiple noun phrases are involved

The sentences at issue are: "The company required a way to showcase their product line and its benefits that can not be typically highlighted in a traditional TV commercial." "He ...
Karl's user avatar
  • 23
0 votes
3 answers
148 views

Is there a term for sentences that are hopelessly and often humorously ambiguous? (e.g. "Squad helps dog bite victim") Are there algorithms for them?

The humorous 1980 book titled Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim and Other Flubs from teh Nation's Press (AbeBooks, Goodreads)1 recently came to mind after seeing the headline Shocking video shows Chinese ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 877
0 votes
2 answers
93 views

Ambiguity of "I'm contacting you as <role>" [duplicate]

Yesterday I had to write an email to my organization's (say) Chief Poodle Liaison. There are many Chief Liaisons for various breeds, but only one responsible for poodles. And the given person has a ...
Andras Deak's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
114 views

Usage of " at the expense of"

I am reading the poem The Latest Decalogue by Arthur Hugh Clough. I can't understand the meaning of this line: Thou shalt have one God only; who / Would be at the expense of two? Is he saying that ...
my name depends on you's user avatar

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