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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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? ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

An Example of Lexical Semantic Ambiguity?

As a joke, is A seal walks into a club... an example of semantic ambiguity, lexical ambiguity, or the expression I just recently discovered, lexical semantic ambiguity? Or put another way, is ...
1
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2answers
79 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
690 views

Turn “in to” or “into” a lonely lane?

I have a sentence I'm writing where I describe making a turn, as I run, into an empty alleyway. Here is how I would like to say it: I turn into a lonely lane... The problem I find is that it may ...
0
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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
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, ...
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2answers
260 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
votes
2answers
99 views

“Sales” ambiguity

I'm a software developer and for a store system I need to have two tabs in a menu. One tab for listing all the "sales" (a list of every time some items have been sold) and another tab for listing "...
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
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 ...
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 ...
0
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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 ...
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
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Should a comma be used whenever it resolves an equivocation?

I think I may nearly have got commas, but am not sure. Should a comma be used whenever it resolves an equivocation? What about the following: She got angry with him, ignoring his stupidity The ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Different meanings of “supported” software

Let's say I write a computer program for Linux. People pay me, they get this computer program and my support staff will "support them" using it. There is different (well, actually many) different ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

“improve upon” another party's design - meaning?

My supervisor in Japan is currently translating my CV from English into Japanese, however she has asked me to reword one sentence (in English) as to her its meaning is not what I intended it to be. ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

When distinguishing 'in which' and 'which' is ambiguous

I'm a Korean high school student (who really likes reading English novels), and I'm curious regarding the usage of 'in which' and 'which' in a sentence. Which one do I have to use in the following ...
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1answer
78 views

The ambiguity of: see / hear / listen to news

When you google "hear", "listen", "watch", or "see" , many links appear telling the differences between them, but I wanted to see if the same applies to "news" or not. The difference in meaning is ...
-1
votes
1answer
474 views

How to better express the ambiguous meaning in “Write me when you are back”

The phrase "Write me when you are back" has ambiguous meaning. It might mean - write me the day you have arrived or write me when you are planning to be back. What is the minimal addition/change in ...
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votes
1answer
109 views

Ambiguity in this sentence?

Is this sentence ambiguous: Licensor grants licensee one license to install and use this software on as many computers owned and operated by employees of your company That is, who owns the ...
-1
votes
1answer
271 views

Ambiguious anaphora in a speech

On October 31, 2014, President Obama spoke on the topic of women and the economy. Here's a section of the speech. Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn’t ...
2
votes
0answers
51 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

adverbials part II… I left the building with him…

Can one say a. I left the kitchen with the water running. b. I went to his house with my brother in jail. c. I went out of the bedroom with her naked. d. I left the building with my brother ...
1
vote
0answers
16 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?
1
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0answers
991 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
0answers
882 views

Do “multiple choice” questions always have only one correct answer?

In most dictionary definitions it seems that "multiple choice" questions actually refer to questions where only one "correct" answer among several choices is expected to be chosen (e.g. the definition ...
1
vote
0answers
433 views

What can you “distinguish” between? Distinguishing between things that seem incomparable

Given my lack in vocabulary, I assume the title doesn't make much sense (and I will welcome more suitable suggestions or edits for the title), but, basically, what brings up that question is a pretty ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

May an adverbial qualifier suffice to free the word “free” of its ambiguity?

Free is an ambiguous word. For the purpose of this question I'll skip any meaning the word may bear as a verb, and I'll also overlook the "free from/of" variant. In fact, I'll just focus on the two ...
1
vote
0answers
499 views

The name Huxley

I came across the name "Huxley" and I wanted to know what it meant, however I came across different meanings and I would like to know if you know the real truth a little better. Some places only ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Not sure if five of them

a. I don't know if five of my friends are still alive or not. b. I am not sure that five of my friends are still alive. Aren't these sentences ambiguous? I see two possibilities There are ...
1
vote
0answers
745 views

Roboticist v.s. Robotician

I am wondering about the right word to explain the people, are who involved in the robotics realm. I've seen both Roboticist and Robotician within the technical literature. But I have no idea about ...
0
votes
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"?
0
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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 ?
0
votes
0answers
38 views

What does the headline sentence “Top Judges Meet Today On Appointment Rejected By Government” convey? Is there a better way to rephrase this?

A leading Indian news website has this headline today - "Top Judges Meet Today On Appointment Rejected By Government" How would a reader, who lacks context, interpret this? The top judges are going ...
0
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0answers
50 views

Does this usage of “vice versa” give clear meaning?

I have a sentence: Explain technical information to non-technical audiences, and explain non-technical information to technical audiences. I use "vice versa" to shorten the sentence and try to ...
0
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0answers
266 views

Restate a question… in short responses?

Can someone please help me understand the meaning of this phrase? to restate a question in short responses How can a question (if it's something asked) be restated (paraphrased or repeated or ...
0
votes
0answers
609 views

Always Is (Past, Present, and/or Future?)

Is is the present simple tense of be. But since the present tense is temporary instantaneous time period, what does "always is" mean? I am not saying "is always" because: I am using always to be an ...
0
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0answers
100 views

Is “Positions will be filled starting from August 1st, 2015.” unambiguous?

This is from a job listing for multiple positions, with a submission deadline of May 30th. Does this have an unambigious meaning? I can interpret it in two ways: They will decide upon the suitable ...