Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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
votes
1answer
29 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
835 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
votes
2answers
61 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
94 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
69 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
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
37 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
154 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
50 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
6k 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
154 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
55 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
94 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
128 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
98 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
62 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"?
69
votes
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
376 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
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
69 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
votes
1answer
52 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
votes
3answers
2k 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
285 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
343 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
59 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Use of he, him and it in a conversation

I don't fully understand the relationship between the following conversations. Suppose, two men are fighting, and there are three commentators. At this point man 2 intends to attack man 1. ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

How do you say “let's bring some other people in this conversation”

To Enlarge/Expand the conversation sounds more about expanding the focus of the conversation, not the fact that we want to discuss this issue with other people.
3
votes
2answers
74 views

What is it meant by “sanctions grip”?

What is it meant by "sanctions grip" in the following sentence: "China, Germany defend Iran business ties as U.S. sanctions grip"? Is sanctions here a plural noun or singular verb? That sentence ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

What's the difference between “Chinese social media marketing” and “Social media marketing in China”?

Chinese social media marketing advice from local experts. Avoid common mistakes and dominate in Chinese social media. Powerful advice on social media marketing in China from local experts. Follow ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “a dash” and “a dollop” of cream?

I was doing this CPE vocabulary test when I came across the following sentence: "If you say you'd like _______ of cream on your strawberries then you don't want very much cream." • a ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

“Assumption of a guarantee for qualities” meaning unclear in warranty terms and conditions

I've been asked to translate the sentence, "The above is without prejudice to further claims in the event of the assumption of a guarantee for qualities." The phrase "assumption of a guarantee ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

It's good to work and it's good that you work . What is the difference?

It's good to work and it's good that you work . What is the difference ? I feel that the first one is more general but the second one might mean that the person already works and we praise that .
1
vote
2answers
492 views

Can “doing someone” mean “mimicking someone”? [closed]

Can "do someone" be us to mean mimic in expressions like "Stop doing me!" or "He is doing Lisa"? Or does it necessarily mean having a sexual relationship with someone?
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Difficulty understanding some phrases in a paragraph

Can anyone help me explain the total meaning of this paragraph? Exercise 3.43: Suppose that the balances in three accounts start out as $10, $20, and $30, and that multiple processes run, ...
-1
votes
2answers
252 views

How to remove ambiguity within a sentence

Consider the following sentence: Over 90 percent of applicants secure the credit they need in around 10 minutes As is, the sentence is ambiguous. A possible interpretation could be: 90 percent ...
1
vote
3answers
776 views

Does “people” necessarily mean “living persons”?

If you refer to people in a room, does that imply that those people are alive? If you said: People in a boardroom It is reasonable to assume they are alive, but I am not sure if its implied. ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

How to avoid ambiguity with words like undoable

Undeletable can either mean "cannot be deleted" or "can be undeleted." Undoable can either mean "cannot be done" or "can be undone." Unacceptable can either mean "cannot be accepted" or "can be ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

Are the haters un-American or do the haters hate un-American (actions)?

@JudgeJeanine: "@realDonaldTrump is bringing America back in front of our eyes and it's time for the un-American haters to get on board." I know what she intended. To invite anyone who disagrees with ...
0
votes
2answers
430 views

What is the difference between 'luck' and 'fortune'?

I was translating a German chat in the office and somebody said something about 'Glück'. I immediately translate the concept to 'fortune', also because I'm Italian and the most similar word is '...
0
votes
3answers
415 views

Explain the different interpretations possible from the following ambiguous statement: I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting your brother

Explain the different interpretations possible from the following ambiguous statement: I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting your brother.
2
votes
2answers
183 views

Is the main meaning of “speak extempore” as “without notes” of “without preparation”?

Some dictionary definitions (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/extempore) of extempore I found allow only without preparation: Spoken or done without preparation. Some (https://www....
2
votes
0answers
1k views

What does “as busy as it gets” mean? [closed]

What does "as busy as it gets mean? For instance, 6 PM: Usually as busy as it gets (about a sinagogue). Or the photo below is called "As busy as it gets"
0
votes
1answer
218 views

Unambiguous way to say 'any day within a range of days"? [duplicate]

What is the unambiguous way to say any day within a range of days? I want to say you can choose any day: 1,2,3,4 or 5th of Aug. You can choose any day between Aug 1st and Aug 5th. You can choose any ...
-1
votes
2answers
52 views

What means that “Nail”? [closed]

What does nail mean in the below sentence? ( Here C# is a programming language) Nail Your C# Developer Interview.
0
votes
2answers
94 views

The phrase “Spirits abroad”

In the abroad entry of The Oxford Living Dictionaries, there are a handful of examples containing the word spirit (Examples are rearranged by me): [T]here is a new buccaneering spirit abroad. First, ...
1
vote
0answers
964 views

Implications and Possible retorts of “Let's not get ahead of ourselves”

When someone uses the phrase "Let's not get ahead of ourselves", it seems to be patronizing, yet usually, with the correct tone, is designed to be polite. To me, it seems that the implications are as ...
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 ...