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    #1

    An outbreak of tuberculosis

    Hello!

    Help me with the sentence below, please.

    Doctors are very concerned about an outbreak of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.

    An interpretation of the sentence:
    Either A. or B. or both.
    A. The writer thinks the hearer doesn’t know about the outbreak of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.
    B. The writer thinks that there have successively been more than two outbreaks of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.

    Am I right in understanding as above?

    Sincerely

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    #2

    Re: An outbreak of tuberculosis

    As the listener I think A. more than B., but B. could convey that thought. Depends on context and listener's perception.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: An outbreak of tuberculosis

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazuo View Post
    Hello!

    Help me with the sentence below, please.

    Doctors are very concerned about an outbreak of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.

    An interpretation of the sentence:
    Either A. or B. or both.
    A. The writer thinks the hearer doesn’t know about the outbreak of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.
    B. The writer thinks that there have successively been more than two outbreaks of tuberculosis in an East Tokyo School.

    Am I right in understanding as above?

    Sincerely
    I'd say it can only mean A, pragmatically.
    The doctors are unlikely to concerned about the 1998 outbreak, but not the 1991 outbreak. Regardless of whether there have been past outbreaks, they are concerned about the one occurring now.

    That is, if you have to choose between 'an' meaning unknown and 'an' meaning one of several, only the former is plausible.

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