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    #1

    "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    In an examination, marks of some students were deducted because they did not follow the instruction "Write your answers with blue ball

    pen".

    Can I argue with teaher that "blue ballpen" can also be interpreted as "a ballpen with blue body", regadless to the color of ink, such as

    "red apple" is an appl with red skin.

  1. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    IMO, it would be pointless. It's an argument you cannot win.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    I am not a teacher.

    Yes, it is pointless. It should be ballpoint pen, not ballpen.

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    #4

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    Quote Originally Posted by bigC View Post
    Can I argue with teaher that "blue ballpen" can also be interpreted as "a ballpen with blue body", regadless to the color of ink, such as

    "red apple" is an appl with red skin.
    Can you make a credible case for the colour of the body of the pen being important? Why on earth would they specify this? It's a non-argument IMO as the ambiguity is theoretical. You could try it, but don't be surprised if it's rejected as you know yourself that you'd be trying it on. How would you prove that they used blue pen with different coloured ink?

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    #5

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Can you make a credible case for the colour of the body of the pen being important? Why on earth would they specify this? It's a non-argument IMO as the ambiguity is theoretical. You could try it, but don't be surprised if it's rejected as you know yourself that you'd be trying it on. How would you prove that they used blue pen with different coloured ink?
    Legal documents are written in great detail to avoid ambiguities.

    If a lawyer uses similar/same arguement to debate in a court, does he have the chance to win?

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    Quote Originally Posted by bigC View Post
    Legal documents are written in great detail to avoid ambiguities.

    If a lawyer uses similar/same arguement to debate in a court, does he have the chance to win?
    No. But it would evoke laughter, which can be a good thing. The argument is silly.

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    #7

    Re: "write your answers with blue ballpen"

    Quote Originally Posted by bigC View Post
    Legal documents are written in great detail to avoid ambiguities.

    If a lawyer uses similar/same arguement to debate in a court, does he have the chance to win?
    It depends- one common test is to use the logical interpretation that the ordinary person would use, which this case would fail. There was a big case in the European courts where they argued about what the word they meant in various European languages and whether they could use possible interpretations from translations of the law, but this does not mean that any possible ambiguity has a case. And they lost the case, I think. If you have clear evidence that some people interpreted it as meaning that it was an essential part of the exam to use a pen with a blue body - emails pre-dating the exam discussing this or photographic evidence of blue pens with green ink being used in the exam, etc -then you might have a case. If the person who wrote in green ink used a pen with a black body, then there is no case to answer. It's not the existence of a potential, if extremely unlikely, ambiguity that matters, but proving that people acted on that ambiguity. If you can demonstrate that, you might have a case, but as cameras are rarely allowed in exams, it will be very difficult unless you have other evidence that people acted on the ambiguous interpretation.

    Can you demonstrate that they acted the wrong way because of the instructions and not that they just didn't follow them?


    PS If you have this evidence, it wouldn't mean you'd win, but you would have something to argue with.
    Last edited by Tdol; 28-Feb-2014 at 08:41.

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