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Profile: azz
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User Name: azz
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Last Visit: Sunday, April 11, 2021 11:13:49 PM
Number of Posts: 401
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: since he left
Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2021 11:13:49 PM
Bathcoup wrote:


Azz has proposed a situation: “I was here even before he left” and “I have been here since he left.
(A more verbose version: I came here before he left, had stayed here until he left, and have been here since he left.)

Question: Can Sentence (a) "I have been here since he left." be used to describe the situation?

The above is my understanding. It's clear to me azz is seeking a information-giving statement, a complete sentence similar to Sentence (a) to describe the duration of my being here.[/color]



Thank you all so much for your kind responses.

The slight disagreement I see here clarifies the situation. I wanted to know if (a) could be used in that situation. It seems that it could. It does not clash with the facts. Now, does it describe that situation? No, it doesn't, because it could also be used if I arrived when he left. It doesn't describe the latter situation either. It is non-committal as to when I arrived. One could say it is ambiguous (although calling it ambiguous is a bit of a stretch).

That's my take on it. I think you are all correct!

Many thanks.
Topic: since he left
Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:44:47 PM
a. I have been here since he left.

Could I use (a) if I was here even before he left?

I think (a) is saying that I came here when he left. But maybe one could use (a) if one has been here since before he left.

Many thanks.
Topic: whoever you manage to hire
Posted: Sunday, April 4, 2021 3:53:03 AM
Can one use
a. Whoever you manage to hire, your business will fail.
instead of
No matter who you manage to hire, your business will fail.
?

Can one use
b. Whatever unpleasant facts Jane learns about her criminal dad, she'll always remember him as a loving father.

instead of
No matter what unpleasant facts Jane learns about her criminal dad, she'll always remember him as a loving father.
?

Can one use
c. Everybody knows you in the country. Wherever you go, you will always encounter the same hostile attitude.

instead of
Everybody knows you in the country. No matter where you go, you will always encounter the same hostile attitude.
?


Many thanks
Topic: don't know much about him
Posted: Sunday, March 28, 2021 5:27:08 PM
a. We don't know much about him except his name.
b. We know little about him besides his name.

Do both these sentences imply that we know certain things about him besides his name? We know his name and little else, but there are some things that we do know about him.

I think that is the literal meaning of those sentences, but I wonder if they are used literally or not. I get the impression that the meaning is that we know almost nothing about him except his name... Still 'almost nothing' is more than 'nothing'.

Many thanks.
Topic: what can we do
Posted: Friday, March 5, 2021 4:37:44 AM
a. What can all of us do?
Is this sentence ambiguous?
First meaning: What can we all do together?
Second meaning: What can every one of us do?

b. What can each of us do?

Is this sentence ambiguous?
First meaning: Each of us can do one or more things, but they differ from person to person (there might be overlap). What are the thing or things each different person can do?
Second meaning: What can every one of us do? We can all do the same thing or things.

c. What can any of us do?

Is this sentence ambiguous?
First meaning: Is there a thing that at least one of us can do? What is it? (In this case the sentence would generally be a rhetorical question meaning: There is nothing any of us can do.)
Second meaning: What can every one of us do? There is something any of us can do. What is it?

Many thanks.
Topic: not to talk to him
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 4:12:58 PM
Thank you both so much.

Wilmar, I understand that my questions can seem strange and even a bit irritating. My husband and I have developed an obsession with ambiguity. It is something we like to explore. It gets irritating for us too, sometimes, but it is like an itch you have to scratch or like a bee in our bonnet, if you will.

Now, obviously, ambiguity exists in all languages and generally doesn't cause any problem because there is context. Sentences don't come out of the blue, unless, as you said, one is eavesdropping )I hadn't even thought of that! Good work imagining a context where sentences could really become ambiguous! I should have thought of that!). Of course ambiguity is used in literature, especially in poetry and if you are translating a literary work, it would probably be good to be conscious of possible ambiguities, but I think even in literature the kind of syntactic ambiguity I am exploring is rare, if not non-existent.

Linguists do analyze ambiguous syntactic structures and although I am not a linguist I am interested in them, But this is a purely intellectual pursuit, and I am conscious of the fact that in everyday life, within a given context, ambiguous structure do not in general cause problems, because the context makes everything clear.

However, as a learner, I'd add that knowing a sentence is ambiguous is knowing that it could be used in more than one context. In other words, I know that I could use the sentence in context A, and context B and... But you are right in that it really doesn't change much when it comes to understanding the intended meaning of the person I am speaking to. It is important to point that out.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.
Topic: not to talk to him
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 2:40:53 AM
a. Why he went to the restaurant was not to talk to John.

Is that sentence ambiguous?

I see two possible meanings.

1. He went to the restaurant, but it wasn't because he wanted to talk to John.

2. Why he went to the restaurant was to not talk to John. Why he went to the restaurant was in order not to talk to John.

Would you say that is correct?

Many thanks.
Topic: friends in high school
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2021 6:49:12 PM
Thank you Tautophile.

As I said, I am very good at making wrong guesses.
Topic: friends in high school
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2021 1:17:53 AM
Thank you so much Tautophile.

Very interesting. I suppose you live in the US. Or you changed countries. I'd say you live on the West Coast now!

Your story somehow makes me want to do detective work!

I do this kind of guesswork from time to time, and quite often I am miles and miles off the mark!

Topic: friends in high school
Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2021 1:13:11 AM
a. My friends in high school are all middle-aged managers now.
b. My friends when I was in high school are all middle-aged managers now.


Are the above sentences grammatically correct?

Many thanks.