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  1. Key Member
    Academic
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      • Armenian
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      • Iran
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #1

    when I was arrested

    1) He was happy when he heard the news. I was too.
    Could that mean:
    He was happy when he heard the news. And I was happy when I heard the news. (We didn't hear it at the same time.)
    Normally '1' would mean: ...I was happy when he heard the news.

    2) He was surprised when he was arrested. I was too.

    Could that mean:
    He was surprised when he was arrested, and I was surprised when I was arrested.
    Normally '2' would mean: .... I was surprised when he was arrested/

    I think '1' works with that meaning but '2' doesn't...

    Gratefully,
    Navi

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Other
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    #2

    Re: when I was arrested

    Good question! You might get several opinions here.

    I agree with you. Your understanding of each is the more likely one.

    Obviously, each could have been phrased more clearly. When we're left on our own to piece together the meaning of ambiguous sentences, the blame goes to the person who said it if we get it wrong.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    Interested in Language
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    • Join Date: Jun 2014
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    #3

    Re: when I was arrested

    I interpret #1 as meaning I was happy when I heard the news. (That's the only thing that makes sense to me.)

    I agree with your interpretation of #2. I would have a different opinion only if it mentioned that "I" was also arrested.

    As always, more context would make things more clear. (There is always context.)
    Not a professional teacher

  4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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    #4

    Re: when I was arrested

    It's unlikely to me that you were arrested.

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