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Thread: know

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default know

    Is this sentence ambiguous:
    1-I don't know many things about it.

    First meaning: There are many things about it I don't know (maybe there are many things about it that I don know)
    Second meaning:It is not true that I know many things about it. I know few things about it

    Same question as regards:

    2-I don't know a lot of things about it.

    a-There is a lot I don't know, but maybe there is a lot I do know
    b-It is not true that I know a lot about it.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    You're right- they are ambiguous.

  3. #3
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    The question was posted by me. I tried to log in but something went wrong. It is no big deal though, because it was obvious that it was me, given the other question.
    In any case, thanks TDOL.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    You're welcome.

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: know

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    Is this sentence ambiguous:
    1-I don't know many things about it.

    First meaning: There are many things about it I don't know (maybe there are many things about it that I don know)
    Second meaning:It is not true that I know many things about it. I know few things about it

    Same question as regards:

    2-I don't know a lot of things about it.

    a-There is a lot I don't know, but maybe there is a lot I do know
    b-It is not true that I know a lot about it.
    I don't consider them ambiguous. A native speaker would only use the sentence for your second meanings in response to a direct question. Also I don't think anyone would use the sentence if he thought there was a lot that he did know.

  6. #6
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    I agree with Mike. "I don't know many things about it", for example, does not suggest that there are a lot of things the speaker does know about the matter, and it is not used that way. In neither example does the sentence contain ambiguity.

    :)

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