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  1. Key Member
    Academic
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      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,609
    #1

    had a student steal his watch

    1) He had someone steal his watch.

    2) He had a student steal his watch.

    3) He had his cousin steal his watch.
    4) He had Tom steal his watch.

    I think '1' and '2' are ambiguous. They could mean 'He told someone/a student to steal his watch and they did it' or 'Someone/a student stole his watch'. Are '3' and '4' ambiguous as well?

    Gratefully,
    Navi

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 15,680
    #2

    Re: had a student steal his watch

    None of them are ambiguous. In each case he talked someone into stealing his watch.

    Apparently, he wanted somebody to steal his watch.
    Not a professional teacher

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 66,577
    #3

    Re: had a student steal his watch

    The ambiguity is in things like He had his car stolen, where he could have arranged it, or it could have been a unfortunate occurrence.

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