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.

0
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2answers
107 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
4answers
806 views

Are there specific texts, such as French/English poetry, in which the word romance was originally used, and popularized in?

I'm curious about what the meaning of the word was originally and it seems to refer to song. I've found so far that it simply means "fiction", or "novel" (romans in French). I have a keen interest to ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Double meanings of English proverbs

I recently read a long list of English proverbs and strongly felt that a considerable number of them have a double meaning, despite that the explanations of the proverbs provide only one meaning for ...
-1
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0answers
25 views

confusing the property with the posession, it is like confusing the wife with the mistress [on hold]

I saw this quote in spanish, just curious where the author is coming from? thank you
2
votes
1answer
39 views

How to distinguish speaker (person) from speaker (thing, loudspeaker) without using the word loudspeaker?

I want to say "You are just a speaker in a conference room" meaning that you get reduced to a tiny loudspeaker on a conference room full of people where you are actually connected to via ...
0
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0answers
17 views

What does “so to say” refer to in this sentence?

Do you think that is possible or should we just let the organic process happen, occur, so to say? Does it refer to the whole sentence or it only refers to "occur"?
1
vote
1answer
83 views

“I met him(,) sitting on the chair(,) and talked to him.” Who was sitting on the chair?

I met him sitting on the chair and talked to him. - (He was sitting on the chair) I met him, sitting on the chair, and talked to him. - (I was sitting on the chair) Is that correct? I feel safer ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I pluralize the coffee drink “shot in the dark”?

For those that do not know, there is a coffee drink that is sometimes called a shot in the dark. It consists of an espresso shot poured into a regular cup of Joe. Suppose that I would like to order ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Meaning of “longago” (as an adjective) in a context

I think there's a slight ambiguity in the word longago in this context. the longago Deputy Speaker who was killed in the National Assembly when the furniture was flung at him by elected ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Does using the word “solely” in this sentence

I'm writing an individual report in school and wrote: "I was part of the development team and worked solely with front end development" Is this a correct way to use the word "solely"? Does it create ...
1
vote
2answers
78 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Meaning of “across”

I'm not a native English speaker and am having a hard time interpreting the statement below: "The company operated two shifts daily, one from 7am to 2pm and one from 3pm to 10pm. Across both shifts, ...
0
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0answers
28 views

About the use of “to” in “four years to the day since he rode down…”

Does "to" in this context: June 16 — four years to the day since he rode down... mean: In relation to ?
2
votes
1answer
284 views

The relationship between and correct usage of the words Chronometry and Horology

Wikipedia for 'Chronometry' states: Chronometry applies to electronic devices, while Horology refers to mechanical devices. While on 'Horology', Wikipedia describes it in more detail, creating an ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Help with ambiguous syntax tree [closed]

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
22 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
67 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
votes
1answer
47 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'? ...
1
vote
1answer
32 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 ...
-1
votes
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?
0
votes
1answer
58 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
votes
1answer
29 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
218k views

How should “midnight on…” be interpreted?

From what I understand, the word "midnight" is usually interpreted incorrectly. Midnight is written as "12am" which would imply that it's in the morning. Therefore, it should be at the start of the ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Difficulty with trying to describe the quantity of something

I am trying to write a word problem, and am having trouble with the wording of one part. Let's say for the sake of example that there are 10 apples and 20 oranges. Call them both items. I am trying to ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

Is the following information being said in the implied quote, to the reader, or is it ambiguous

I am referring specifically to the phrase "which we weren't." I cannot tell whether or not he is saying it to the reader or if it is part of his reply. Is it ambiguous? First example: "I replied ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Trying to understand but getting mixed opinions [closed]

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
votes
0answers
13 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
645 views

“This page intentionally blank” … but it isn't!

We are all familiar with user manuals or documents with pages printed with "intentionally blank" ... but with those words on them, they are no longer blank! I'm pretty sure I saw a user manual once ...
1
vote
1answer
38 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
25k views

What's the difference between “title” and “name”?

I'm not sure when it's appropriate to use word "name", and when to use word "title". For example, "file name" feels right, "file title" doesn't; "document name" and "document title" seem ...
-1
votes
1answer
66 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
votes
1answer
53 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
38 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
110 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
votes
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
votes
2answers
134 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; ...
-1
votes
4answers
62 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? ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “We embraced.” a complete sentence?

Can someone write "we embraced" to mean "we embraced each other?"
0
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the meaning of “sanity” in “sanity check”?

The phrase "sanity check" comes up often in programming, e.g. It's a good sanity check before attempting to decrypt the key. Usually, its context is one in which a commonly assumed state (e.g. no ...
0
votes
1answer
34 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
votes
1answer
23 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
22k views

Ambiguity of “quite”

The adverb "quite" has the following meanings according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1: wholly, completely ("not quite finished") 2: to an extreme : positively "quite sure" —often ...
4
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
52 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
votes
1answer
144 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
vote
2answers
28 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
votes
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, ...
0
votes
1answer
777 views

Figuring out what's wrong with the sentence

I took a quiz given in the BBC magazine. it had the following sentence. The Queen arrived at the castle with the King by her side, in a dress adorned with hand-sewn embroidered dragons. please ...