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    #1

    how somebody is dressed

    Hello everyone!
    I got into a confusing situation today. I asked a person "Do you know, how high school students are dressed for their last day at school?", implying that students might wear something special on their last day. My counterpart understood it as students wear something only on their last day at school while usually they wear nothing (it worth mentioning that both of us are not native English speakers). Does the question indeed sound ambiguous? If yes, how can it be fixed?

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    #2

    Re: how somebody is dressed

    It's not ambiguous. I can't understand how your "counterpart" could put that interpretation on it. Having said that, it would be more natural as "Do you know how high school students dress for their last day at school?" or "Do you know what high school students wear for their last day at school?"
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 08-Feb-2016 at 11:28. Reason: Removed typo commas
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

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    #3

    Re: how somebody is dressed

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahoola View Post
    Hello everyone!
    I got into a confusing situation today. I asked a person "Do you know, how high school students are dressed for their last day at school?", implying that students might wear something special on their last day. My counterpart understood it as students wear something only on their last day at school while usually they wear nothing (it worth mentioning that both of us are not native English speakers). Does the question indeed sound ambiguous? If yes, how can it be fixed?
    I understand your sentence in the same way that you do.
    Last edited by Masood_S; 14-Feb-2016 at 01:06.

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    #4

    Re: how somebody is dressed

    Quote Originally Posted by Masood_S View Post
    I understand your sentence in the same you way that you do.
    Masood, for the second time, please state that you are not a teacher, in accordance with the forum rules.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 07-Feb-2016 at 23:50.

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    #5

    Re: how somebody is dressed

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahoola View Post
    My counterpart understood it as students wear something only on their last day at school while usually they wear nothing (it worth mentioning that both of us are not native English speakers). Does the question indeed sound ambiguous?
    Your question isn't very good, and Bhaisahab has suggested better ways of putting it, but your counterpart's interpretation is forced. Potential ambiguity is common in language use, and we generally ignore it when it is obvious what the person means, though comedians often exploit it for humour. Unless your counterpart can come up with countries where students go to school naked except for the last day, then their interpretation is pretty nonsensical- for ambiguity to have a place, there has to be a realistic chance of it being misunderstood IMO, comedians excepted.

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