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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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1answer
44 views

Help with ambiguous syntax tree

I have to do syntax trees for the two interpretations of this ambiguous sentence: "The poor child's story is sad" According to what I was told, one interpretation refers to the child and the other ...
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1answer
20 views

'The government has stopped arguing'. What is the grammatical analysis of the ambiguity?

The ambiguity allows us to understand that the subject of the sentence has ceased the activity of arguing, or that it has banned the activity among (itself and) others. Please help with a grammatical ...
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0answers
48 views

50% Opaque or 50% Transparent Image - not Transparent nor Opaque [closed]

is translucent the only word to describe something that is partially opaque/transparent. does it apply in all cases?
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1answer
28 views

What does this mean [closed]

I concluded that the generation gap is mainly due to the overpowering nature of the young and a state of normative uncertainty both within and between the generations.
2
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1answer
45 views

Name for phrases that sound the same but have different meanings?

Is there a special name for two phrases that have the same sound, but mean different things from each other? For example Wishing well Could be used in either the context of "I wish you well," or ...
0
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1answer
44 views

Could not - was incapable of, was capable of not, or ambiguous?

As per my understanding, 'can not' (present tense of 'able to not') has an entirely different meaning from 'cannot' (present tense of 'not able to'). However, what about past tense - 'could not'? ...
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0answers
29 views

Parsing a negation

In an important technical standard our team has trouble understanding a particular sentence. I think it's simply an example for the ambiguity of natural languages, here English, but I'd like to get ...
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0answers
23 views

What does the “grad credited” means in the context below?

- Context: Over 150 Grads Credited Throughout Marvel Cinematic Universe(headline) Grads from multiple degree programs have worked on all of the feature films in the MCU's "Infinity Saga," for a ...
1
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1answer
30 views

'some degree of' - a little or a lot?

I'm a native English speaker, but I recently had reason to suspect I had misunderstood 'some degree of'. E.g., I can repair your car. It needs some degree of work before it will be ready As part of ...
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1answer
35 views

What is the difference between “to benefit from” and “to profit from”? [closed]

I do not understand when it is more accurate to say "to benefit from" than "to profit from". Are they interchangeable or is there precise context to employ one rather than the other?
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0answers
27 views

Any Advice Passage Analysis When Nothing Makes Sense?

I'm an AP English student, and sometimes I have to analyze prose written centuries ago or in complex ways. Does anyone have any tried-and-true advice on how to tackle passages that seem to make zero ...
0
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1answer
51 views

What does “Will Lift Sanctions” mean? [closed]

A Wall Street Journal headline from May 7, 2019 reads Pence to Announce U.S. Will Lift Sanctions on Venezuela Gen. Manuel Cristopher Figuera After He Broke Ranks With Maduro What does will lift ...
0
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1answer
27 views

Does “almost the first ten” mean “almost first” or “almost ten”?

If someone is talking "almost the first ten minutes" of something, should that be interpreted as being: ten minutes, almost at the beginning, or almost ten minutes, necessarily starting at the ...
1
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1answer
59 views

Trying to understand but getting mixed opinions [on hold]

Here is the sentence I'm trying to understand: "Your contract and verbal agreement are hereby terminated sixty days after service upon you of this notice or as of November 26th, 2017, whichever is ...
0
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0answers
12 views

The meaning of “when the need be” [duplicate]

I'm not sure if it's actually grammatically correct at all. However, if it is, would it mean 'when help is needed' or 'when help is necessary' (the usual meaning of 'if need be'). In particular, I've ...
0
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0answers
21 views

Set a lower bound for ambiguous number phrase

Would this make sense, to say a number between 100 and 10,000?: 'Potentially hundreds of hundreds' More specifically, if I say 'potentially hundreds of hundreds', does this mean '(potentially ...
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1answer
65 views

Is this question ambiguous?

The following multiple-choice question was asked in an exam: Which one is the internal storage device that performs better than its predecessor with spinning disks inside? HDD SSD USB ...
0
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1answer
52 views

“I wake up dreaming” - possible meaning

I found an example in that particular structure which is: During a night-terror episode, the person will partially wake up screaming, moaning, or gasping for air. It is clear that it means the ...
3
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3answers
109 views

Does “shooting for effect” have contradictory meanings in different areas?

I only know one meaning for "shooting for effect". It's the sort of thing a SWAT team commander might say to indicate that no one is terribly interested in interrogating the subjects. Basically, it ...
0
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1answer
38 views

Is 'Another Europe is possible' correct English? [closed]

Given that we don't have a second Europe, I thought it should be something like 'A different Europe is possible'. Or does this sentence have the same meaning?
2
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2answers
133 views

What does “spokes” mean in this context?

As far as I know and have checked a few dictionaries and done some research, spoke is either a verb, past tense of speak, or a noun which has a few meanings such as the metal bars on a bicycle wheel; ...
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4answers
58 views

Best way to ask whether sales tax is included, not included or not applicable?

This happens seemingly every time I ask for a quote from a tradesperson: Trades: The cost of the project is £nnnn. Me: Is that with VAT included, not included or not applicable? ...
0
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1answer
32 views

what is the meaning of “Entrepreneurial entry”?

I'm translating a paper from English that is in the field of entrepreneurship. I came across the term "Entrepreneurial entry" in this paper and since there is no equivalent for this term in my ...
0
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1answer
22 views

Is there a way to unambiguously say “out(side) of time”?

"Out of time" can mean a variety of things, but IMO the most common one and the one that will be understood if there's no context is "with no time left". unambiguously In can also be used in music ...
0
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1answer
36 views

Please explain the meaning of “appreciation” in the below sentence

Reactions to German Idealism, especially those of the neo-Kantians, logical positivists and Bertrand Russell, were also instrumental in the founding of analytic philosophy, which today reveals and ...
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1answer
69 views

What « Super User » mean in the StackEchange network? [closed]

I recently browsed into the Stack Exhange page and saw a Community called « Super User » and even after looking for a definition online I found the following: a consumer of electrical power. Which ...
4
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1answer
102 views

When was “Chronic” first used as its own antonym?

The word "Chronic" means "long lasting", or "occurring over an extended period of time". A chronic illness one that you will have for a long time (if not for your entire life), or take a long time to ...
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1answer
50 views

“Do not do A, or do B”

A sentence from here: Do not accept any inputs that violate these rules, or convert the inputs to safe values. Does this sentence prohibit conversion? Or does it encourage to do? Note: I found ...
0
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1answer
87 views

Zeal vs. Zest. Am I Using them Correctly Here?

Hello beautiful people, I'm writing a poem and I want to make sure I'm using "zeal" and "zest" correctly. To give context, it's about a storyteller (being I) retelling a story of a man who is giving ...
1
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2answers
27 views

“Nor” following the positive sentence

I came across this sentence in one of W.B. yeats poems: Poet and sculptor do the work Nor let the modish painter shirk I have never seen the “nor” in this way. Does it mean “don’t let the ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Ambiguity of a phrase in the Java specification documentation

I have met the following text in the Java Specification Lines are terminated by the ASCII characters CR, or LF, or CR LF. The two characters CR immediately followed by LF are counted as one line ...
0
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1answer
37 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, ...
2
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2answers
31 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
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1answer
28 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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1answer
25 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
48 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 ...
0
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1answer
84 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 ...
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1answer
65 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
47 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.
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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?
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1answer
36 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
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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
34 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
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2answers
72 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 ...
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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...
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1answer
43 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
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2answers
47 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 ...
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2answers
60 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 ...
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2answers
78 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 ...
0
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1answer
349 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 ...