both + a

Status
Not open for further replies.

perfectera

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Hello.

I would like to know if both is wrong for the sentence below.
There are 2 pairs of cables, and

Cover each pair of the cables with a tube.
Cover both pairs with a tube.

Does the latter mean that the two pairs are covered together with only one tube?
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Literally the latter means that both pairs should be covered with a single tube, but a careful and cautious reader like you would be wise to consider the possibility that this is a case of sloppy writing, and the writer really meant that each pair should be in a tube of its own.
 
Last edited:

perfectera

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Japanese
Home Country
Japan
Current Location
Japan
Literally the latter means that both pairs should be covered with a single tube, but a careful and cautious reader like you would be wise to consider the possibility that this is a case of sloppy writing, and the writer really meant that each pair should be in a tube of its own.

Thanks for your answer. So these sentences mean the same?
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Do you really mean 'each pair of the cables' and not 'each of the two wires that the cable is made of. A cable is made up of a number of wires or leads or strands or flexes... A common sort of electrical lead is referred to as 'twisted pair'.

b
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Hello.

I would like to know if both is wrong for the sentence below.
There are 2 pairs of cables, and

Cover each pair of the cables with a tube.
Cover both pairs with a tube.

Does the latter mean that the two pairs are covered together with only one tube?
No, the latter is ambiguous. It could mean that you need one tube or two tubes.
If you are really writing instructions, I'd suggest you use non-ambiguous sentences.
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Thanks for your answer. So these sentences mean the same?

No they do not. Please refer to Raymott's post and tell us: are you reading this or writing it?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top