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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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0answers
21 views

Does selected mean “it's chosen” or “chosen from”?

I entered a contest on Gurushots, and was glad when I got the right level to win. That level is called an "All-star". Then I went back and re-read the rules of the contest, now I'm not sure about ...
0
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0answers
44 views

What is the difference between “Stating a Problem” and “Asking a Question”? [migrated]

I have seen posts where the OP states a problem, and it is closed as being unclear. As an engineer, I've been trained to "State the Problem." A question does not necessarily need to be answered ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Syntactical ambiguity in introductory phrase reference: reference to main verb vs. object

Motivated by A, we outline our proposal for B. Does "Motivated" refer to outline or proposal? It seems to me that a reader could infer one of two statements: A motivated us to create this outline, ...
1
vote
2answers
22 views

How to express an increase in percentage unambiguously?

So I have a metric, say, accuracy, which is originally 70% and then raised to 80%. I want to say the accuracy increases by 10%. But it is ambiguous, as some may interpret it as the current accuracy is ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Ambiguity with two possessive pronouns in a sentence

Is it clear who the first and second "their" refer to in the following sentence, or is the sentence likely to confuse the reader -- "It has been decided between the parties that party number 1 will ...
0
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0answers
29 views

Yes-no question with the adjective comprehensible

I constructed a question that I thought was grammatically correct, but I have gotten confused after being told that the sentence was ambiguous. Is (verb) what is meant (in the sentence) (Subject) ...
0
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1answer
19 views

Ask about right-angle

What do you mean when you say "An apartment doesn't have a single right angle"? Does it just mean this apartment doesn't have any 90-degree angle? Or it has another meaning? If this is the former, ...
0
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1answer
45 views

Perplexity of Whitman

In section 26 of "Song of Myself", Whitman wrote: I hear the train’d soprano (what work with hers is this?) The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies, Who knows the meaning of the sentence ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Does flounder now mean founder?

The times in my life when I've floundered occurred when I was thrashing around, typically trying to stay afloat or get back to the surface I now hear that I also floundered when I failed - presumably ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of the statement “Tigers and lions attack if they are hungry or threatened.”?

Does it mean: 1. If a tiger/lion is hungry or threatened, it certainly WILL attack. or does it mean: 2. A tiger/lion will attack ONLY if it is hungry or threatened (and never otherwise). I ...
0
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1answer
43 views

“National Forward published”

I'd like to know the meaning of "National Forward published". I have seen it in codes and regulation context, such as those found by this search, and couldn't understand it.
1
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0answers
14 views

What is the antecedent of “The x of y, which”

What is the antecedent of "which" in the following sentence? "The door of the car, which is discontinued, broke." Is the "the door of the car" discontinued, or is "the car" discontinued?
0
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1answer
32 views

What does “overcome” mean in this sentence?

I'm trying to understand the following bolded sentences. These have been copied from a legal document regarding the outcome of a patent application linked here. DECISION The sole outstanding ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Does “, which” Correspond to the Noun just before the Comma or to the Whole Sentence before the Comma?

Harvey drinks from a bottle, which looks funny. Is it enforced that "which" corresponds here to the bottle and not to the way in which Harvey drinks? Can ", which" be used to correspond to the full ...
0
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2answers
29 views

Meaning of “could” in a question. Implied condition

I have a question concerning the meaning of "could" in this sentence: "It could refer back to the subject, Jane, or it could refer to somebody else." As I understand this, there's an implied ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Ambiguous meaning of the sentence

There is the sentence: "Women have an ability to make men think they are in charge". I do not get who is in charge eventually? Women make men think that men in charge? or Women make men think that ...
11
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10answers
2k views

Understanding the purported ambiguity in “Every boy didn’t run”

I am a com­puter sci­ence pro­fes­sional. I am read­ing the book Nat­u­ral Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing by James Allen where he writes: “Every boy didn’t run” which is am­bigu­ous be­tween the read­...
-1
votes
1answer
37 views

“Meteorology” vs “Climatology” and meteor

I am having a naive uneasiness regarding these 3 words. The text ( TOEFL ( Test Of English For Foreign Language )) by native speakers says, Meteorology is the scientific study of weather condition....
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Does a ver­bal noun turn back into a verb when mod­ified by an ad­verb? [duplicate]

Here singing is a noun: I like singing. But what about here? I like singing loudly. Loudly is still an ad­verb, right? But singing is still be­hav­ing like a noun, right? So which is it, a noun ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

Can the word “doing” be used in singular for activity without a goal? [closed]

I'm looking for a word, that describes activity without a specific goal. (Its opposite, activity with a goal, would be "project".) The best candidate for me is currently the word "doing". But I'm not ...
-1
votes
2answers
61 views

Is ambiguous the same as incomplete? [closed]

I am aware that when something (a statement, sentence, etc.) is ambiguous it leads to uncertainty due to more than one interpretation; but does ambiguous imply incomplete? Put another way, can ...
-1
votes
1answer
111 views

Difference between screen, display, monitor, and display monitor

As I am not a native speaker of English, I am not sure about the actual meaning and differences between the following words and a phrase: display monitor screen display monitor I want to know which ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Using the word “forge” in a positive context [closed]

I came up with a two-word business name where the first word is “forge”. I imagined a craftman making something of great power and value, which carried the feeling I wanted to invoke, but I forgot ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

How to adress personified concepts like “love” like they're people? (with no ambiguity)

There's a song lyric in a French song that goes like this: Je t'attends depuis longtemps, toi l'amour Which means, more or less: I've been waiting for you for a long time, love But there love ...
6
votes
3answers
820 views

“without” without object?

Below is an encrypt from John Lock's "An Essay on Human Understanding". I am not able to understand the meaning of "without" in this context. The problem is that it's object is not mentioned. I ...
0
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2answers
48 views

Convey 2 meanings in one sentence correctly [closed]

The sentence is "Tom was the first ever student from Jacksonville University to qualify for the prestigious math competition, while only being in his sophomore year" What i what to emphasise is that ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

What is “remedy against the lusts of the flesh”? [closed]

I am struggling to understand the following sentence. “I tell them that if they will occupy themselves with the study of mathematics they will find in it the best remedy against the lusts of the ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

“I love you more than your dad” [closed]

I love you more than your dad Does it mean: I love you more than your dad loves you [OR] I love you more than I love your dad Does this type of construction have a name in Linguistics?
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Digits (location/position) vs. digits (glyph/symbol/value) on a display?

This is about (numerical) displays, eg. a "multiple-digit" display such as a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven-segment_display (LED or LCD) and the difference between a digit as a single-glyph ...
1
vote
2answers
34 views

When labeling people in a picture, should I label them as they were or as they are at present?

Let's say I am labeling a picture of me, my wife and my stepson, but the picture is of an occasion before we got married. Is it misleading to label the picture: "me, my wife and my stepson" which is ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Is “X is a risk of substance abuse” an ambiguous statement?

I recently happened upon a health assessment quiz with the following question: Which is not a risk of substance abuse? Bullying Death from Heart Failure Lack of Coping Skills Addiction The correct ...
2
votes
10answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “migration” in “Oracle (database) migration”? [closed]

Does the term migration typically imply to or from? For instance, if I refer to a specific database migration project, where the database is Oracle, would "Oracle migration" refer to: migrating ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Meaning of “But no Source never made me not buy an album when they say it was wack”

I cannot get the real meaning of this AAVE sentence from rapper Kon Artis, a song lyric transcribed at Genius: But no Source never made me not buy an album when they say it was wack Source is the ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

Does “pass” mean OK or not OK? [closed]

Today, I received a folder of Recruiting candidate CVs from one of our HR. In this folder, there is a sub-folder named "pass". Question is does this "pass" mean the CVs inside are OK or not OK? If I ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

All vs There Exist

If one is asked a question such as "choose all forms of data that apply?", and in the options there exists possible anwsers that denote large groups of data sets, but only a subset of that large group ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Is “before defining the derivative” a dangling participle in this sentence?

Someone reviewing an article of mine claims that this sentence begins with a dangling participle. Is that true? Is the meaning of the sentence ambiguous? Before defining the derivative, it is ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Can anyone tell me what “a card scandal” in this sentence means?

I have a question about a sentence from Sherlock Holmes's series "The Adventure of the Three Students". Here it goes. He was nearly expelled over a card scandal in his first year. Can anyone be ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Simplification of a sentence - the underlying usage implied by the author

I encountered this sentence in 'A Caribbean Mystery' by Agatha Christie. Thus Raymond - and his aunt Jane - had looked properly abashed - and said 'Yes,' she was afraid she was rather old-...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

“All but” idiom or excluding “but” in this context?

I'm having a bit of trouble with this section of a biology paper: "LSU was amplified in these species using F63.2 and Mollusc28R2, which amplified all but ~400 bases at the 3' end of the gene." Does ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

What does “;” in “If in Your Dreams; the Flood” mean?

Context: "If in Your Dreams; the Flood" is the title of a visual novel. In short, it's story about a girl who suffers from constant nightmares, namely she has dreasm about the flood, and each time she ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

Is it correct to use “could” when confirming something? [duplicate]

"I just want to confirm that I could be included in the committee although I am no longer affiliated with the university" Is the sentence above correct or should I use "can" instead of "could"?
68
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6answers
5k views

“Why does paper cut so well?”, ambiguous question?

I have posted a question titled "Why does paper cut so well?" (on the Physics stack exchange). After a while, I noticed that over 40 people understood the question as "Why is it so easy to cut paper (...
3
votes
1answer
237 views

What is the correct interpretation of “Crazy Rich Asians”?

There is more than one way to interpret the title of the hit film "Crazy Rich Asians." In the film it is suggested that "crazy rich" means "impossibly rich," but as written it could also mean crazy (...
0
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1answer
93 views

Is this part of the sentence ambiguous?

I've negotiated the terms of my employment contract and have inserted the following sentence into the contract... No after-hours or post-employment restrictions and obligations other than what is ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 views

Do “I want to be unhappy” and “I don't want to be happy” mean the same thing? [closed]

I understand "I don't want to be happy" as that you don't CARE about being happy - not that you want to be unhappy. If someone asked me "do you think that people are dumb?" and I said, "no," I mean ...
0
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1answer
43 views

To what noun does which refer to?

I have always had trouble identifying to which noun 'which' refers to in sentences. At this moment I am writing my thesis, and of the examples I am struggling with is the following: We use ...
2
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3answers
1k views

What does “be in like manner” in this sentence mean?

Should the people of America divide themselves into 3 or 4 nations, would not the same thing happen? Would not similar jealousies arise, and be in like manner cherished? What does be in like manner ...
3
votes
3answers
168 views

Does using 'pen' as a verb unambiguously mean that what is written was written with a pen?

I am rewriting an employee handbook. I have a goal of making the handbook more understandable. In some cases this means I have to put more ideas than what the previous handbook has, because the ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

When you say “plain old” adjectivally, is a comma required between them?

Examples: I can't believe he wore a plain old t-shirt to prom. I can't believe he wore a plain, old t-shirt to prom. I could only find one dictionary that has it as a phrase: https://www....
0
votes
2answers
45 views

How should we use “next”, “this” or “last” to refer to days in weeks? [duplicate]

If it is Sunday, when we say "next Wednesday", what does it mean? My friend told me that when it is Sunday, next Wednesday=this Sunday. I am confused about it. If the usage and understanding is ...