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    #1

    potential ambiguities?

    Is this sentence potentially ambiguous, because if the "because" part is removed or a comma is added before "because", the meaning changes completely?
    `
    I think
    "A dog is not considered good because of his barking, and man is not considered clever because of his ability to talk."
    should be written as
    "A dog is considered good not because of his barking, and man is considered clever not because of his ability to talk.".
    `
    "A dog is not considered good, because of his barking, and man is not considered clever, because of his ability to talk." (different meaning)
    `
    -------------------
    And why is "because" used in this sentence?, shouldn't it be "although"?
    `
    "Because Dionysius Exiguss made a mistake in rekoning years, the date of Chirst's birth was sometime between 4 and 6 B.C., not in A.D. 1." (Dionysius Exiguss did not cause the date of Chirst's birth to be sometime between 4 and 6 B.C.)
    `
    "Although Dionysius Exiguss made a mistake in rekoning years, the date of Chirst's birth was sometime between 4 and 6 B.C., not in A.D. 1."
    `
    And why "was"?, why not "is"? "was", to me sounds like "used to be" or "was orginally/previously". But it seems that "was" is the correct form here, so if I want to express the "used to" or "was orginally/previously" meaning, I should use "had been" instead?
    `
    ---------
    My textbook suggests that this sentence
    "Children should be taught while they are very young to tithe and to save."
    be written as
    "While they are very young, children should be taught how to tithe and to save." (sounds as if "they" is referring to not the children but another group of people)
    in order to avoid starting too many sentences with the subject.
    But shouldn't the pronoun follow the antecedent?, like this?
    `
    "While children are very young, they should be taught how to tithe and to save."
    Last edited by dihen; 03-Aug-2006 at 15:49.

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    #2

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    1 I don't think it's a change of meaning, but one of emphasis.
    2 No, Exiguss made a mistake that was the reason for setting the date incorrectly.
    3 It depends on whether you think pronouns can only be anaphoric, but they are often used like cataphorically when the subject comes soon afterwards.

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    #3

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    1 I don't think it's a change of meaning, but one of emphasis.
    What I meant is that it may potentially be interpreted in a way that changes the meaning, like this.
    `
    "Because of a its barking, a dog is not considered good, and because of his ability to talk, man is not considered clever."
    `
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    2 No, Exiguss made a mistake that was the reason for setting the date incorrectly.
    I still don't understand. To me, "because" doesn't make sense at all there. Isn't "although" or "but" also correct?
    `
    Dionysius Exiguss made a mistake in rekoning years, but the date of Chirst's birth was sometime between 4 and 6 B.C., not in A.D. 1."
    `
    And you didn't answer my question about the "was".
    Last edited by dihen; 06-Jul-2006 at 13:00.

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    #4

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    1 OK- agreed
    2 Exiguss got his calculations wrong and set 1AD for Christ's birth. However, the real date is 4-5BC. Christ's birthdate should be 1AD because that is the start of the Christian era, which was the intention, so the Christian era is misdated because of the mistake.
    3 I think the past tense works better because the writer is correcting a historical fact, not referring to a general truth and the emphasis is one the correction. In an ordinary context, you could use the present, but here the past works better.

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    #5

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    1 OK- agreed
    2 Exiguss got his calculations wrong and set 1AD for Christ's birth. However, the real date is 4-5BC. Christ's birthdate should be 1AD because that is the start of the Christian era, which was the intention, so the Christian era is misdated because of the mistake.
    3 I think the past tense works better because the writer is correcting a historical fact, not referring to a general truth and the emphasis is one the correction. In an ordinary context, you could use the present, but here the past works better.
    That's why I thought "because" doesn't make sense, because if it were referring to general truth and used "is", "because" would not make sense.
    Last edited by dihen; 04-Aug-2006 at 08:06.

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    #6

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    For me, it's exactly why it does make sense.

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    #7

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    For me, it's exactly why it does make sense.
    I thought you said it's better to use the past there because it's not general truth, and do you mean "because" still makes sense even if the present is used?
    Last edited by dihen; 08-Jul-2006 at 13:17.

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    #8

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    I was referring to the use of 'because'.

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    #9

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    Is this sentence also potentially ambiguous, like the previous one with "not ... because"?
    `
    "Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories like Windows XP."
    `
    "Like Windows XP, Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories." (different meaning)
    `
    "Unlike Windows XP, Windows 9x sets the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories." (different meaning)
    `
    "Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories [in the way that Windows XP does]." (intended meaning?)
    Last edited by dihen; 17-Aug-2006 at 04:49.

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    #10

    Re: potential ambiguities?

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    Is this sentence also potentially ambiguous, like the previous one with "not ... because"?
    `
    "Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories like Windows XP."
    `
    "Like Windows XP, Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories." (different meaning)
    `
    "Unlike Windows XP, Windows 9x sets the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories." (different meaning)
    `
    "Windows 9x does not set the read-only flag on CD-ROM directories [in the way that Windows XP does]." (intended meaning?)
    Still no one answered? Please tell me what do you think is the intended meaning?

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