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  1. #1
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    Default "The company is ready to sell". Apparently that statement is ambigous, why?

    It says that this statement is ambiguous

    "The company is ready to sell"

    can you tell me why?

    Ben

  2. #2
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    Default Re: "The company is ready to sell". Apparently that statement is ambigous, why?

    Possible meaning 1: The company plans to sell things. It has been getting ready to sell things. Okay, now the company is ready to sell.

    Possible meaning 1: I run a huge conglomeration. It is made up of many different companies. One of my companies doesn't fit with my business strategy any longer, so I'm going to sell it. First I want to clean up some issues on its balance sheet, so it's even more attractive to my potential buyers and I can get even more money. Okay, I've done that. The company is ready to sell.

    [a writer, not a teacher]

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    Default Re: "The company is ready to sell". Apparently that statement is ambigous, why?

    lets say the sentence was followed by “Its shelves are stocked with all the hot products"? This succeeding sentence is helpful only if the customer understands that the possessive pronoun “its” refers to the company, and that “stocked” and “products” are more relevant to selling goods than to being acquired.

    How often are ambigous statements not backed up my a preceding or succeeding statement? I mean ambigous statements cannot stand on their own can they? I mean who would ever write an ambigous statement on their own?

    Do we use ambigous statements in spoken english often without a preceding or succeedding statement?

    Ben

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    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: "The company is ready to sell". Apparently that statement is ambigous, why?

    In real life, we have a lot of context to help us understand potentially ambiguous statements and rarely are we genuinely confused about what is meant.

    Ambiguous sentences you're more likely to see are sentences in which a pronoun could have two possible antecedents - for example, "Mary" and "Jane" are both mentioned, and then there is a reference to "she" or "her" and you don't know if it's Mary or Jane being referred to.

    But it's good to know these types of things can occur so you can make more careful writing choices. I did it recently myself when I was writing about the death of my aunt. I wrote "My aunt's loss" meaning the loss to me, in losing her. But someone read it as my aunt losing someone close to her, so it was a loss to my aunt of someone else. A quick rewrite fixed the problem, but I knew what I meant, so it didn't occur to me that it could be read another way.

    [a business writer, not a teacher]

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