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  1. sky3120's Avatar
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    #1

    "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    I think we can interpret the sentence in two ways.

    1) Do you like potato chips generally?

    2) Do you like potato chips (that is) in general?

    Do you agree with the two different interpretations? Thank you so much as usual.

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    #2

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    I would read this as meaning: "Do you like potato chips as a type of food (without considering particular brands or flavours)?
    An answer might be: "Yes, I eat them a lot, although I hate the vinegar ones".

    For the meaning I think you are suggesting in (1), a more usual form would be "Do you generally (usually, normally) like potato chips?"

    not a teacher

  2. sky3120's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    Thank you, and #2 is not a possible interpretation at all?

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    #4

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    I'm not sure what you mean by #2. Could you rephrase it somehow?

  3. sky3120's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    The meaning of 'potato chips (that is) in general' is not particular chips like original chips, not onion flavored, or something, but come to think of it, it does not make sense

    Then could you check the two sentences:

    Americans in general are open-minded.

    In general, Americans are open-minded.

    Do you sense some difference between the two sentences and I think that 'in general' can modify Americans in the first and it modifies'are' in the second and there is some difference in meaning. what do you think? Thank you so much.

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    #6

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    1) Americans in general are open-minded.
    2) In general, Americans are open-minded.

    Do you sense some difference between the two sentences and I think that 'in general' can modify Americans in the first and it modifies'are' in the second and there is some difference in meaning. what do you think? Thank you so much.


    Perhaps:
    1) Most Americans (without going into detail about exceptions) are open-minded.
    2) Most of the time, more often than not, Americans are open-minded.
    … but I think that most native speakers would take pretty much the same meaning from both statements.

    not a teacher

  4. sky3120's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    Thank you and your explanation is so clear, but I fell into confusion again because of the last sentence. Then most native English speakers would take which one between the two different ones and why? Thank you so much as always.

  5. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sky3120 View Post
    Thank you and your explanation is so clear, but I fell into confusion again because of the last sentence. Then most native English speakers would take which one between the two different ones and why? Thank you so much as always.
    Most people would not prefer one over the other.

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    #9

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    Likes and preferences are normally consistent, so these are unlikely distinctions. To ask about the frequency of someone's fondness of chips, it would be better to express it in a less ambiguous or unclear way. Obscure or theoretically possible meanings are best conveyed by rephrasing them to be clearer. If you want the person to say I only like potato chips in the winter months, then this is not the question to ask. It may be a theoretically possible interpretation, but practically it's pants. You have to take the expectations of your listener into account- people tend to go for the obvious meaning unless there are signals (intonation, etc) to help them.
    Last edited by Tdol; 25-Oct-2012 at 15:59.

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    #10

    Re: "Do you like potato chips in general?"

    It's pants?

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