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navi tasan

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Is this sentence ambiguous:
1-I don't know many things about her.
a-It is not true that I know many things about her. I know few things about her.
b-There are many things about her that I don't know (may-be there are also many things about her I do know).
[If I am correct, in spoken language the difference would be clear. I think in a, don't would be stressed and in b many.]
 

RonBee

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I don't know many things about her.

It is fairly clear what that means. So, no. It is not ambiguous. It is not likely to cause any confusion.

1-I don't know many things about her.
a-It is not true that I know many things about her. I know few things about her.
b-There are many things about her that I don't know (may-be there are also many things about her I do know).
[If I am correct, in spoken language the difference would be clear. I think in a, don't would be stressed and in b many.]

In (1) don't is stressed (slightly). In (a) not is stressed (slightly), and few is stressed (more strongly). In (b) many is stressed (as you suggested).

I think you have got it just right. :D

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Tdol

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They are the most likely patterns, although there are others, with different emphases. ;-)
 

RonBee

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tdol said:
They are the most likely patterns, although there are others, with different emphases. ;-)

True. They are the most likely (I think). Of course, context always makes a difference.

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Tdol

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You could use different stresses to mean different things here- as you say, context determines stress. ;-)
 

navi tasan

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Part 1:
I have to admit that I am having a problem here. I had once asked whether the sentence:
2-I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night.
could mean:
2a-There are a lot of things that happened that night and that I don' t remember.
The answer seemed to be yes.
We seem to be agreed that 2a is not necessarily a negation of "I remember a lot of things that happened that night." May-be there are a lot of things that I do remember and a lot of things that I don't remember.

But if I have understood correctly things don't seem to be the same as far as:
1-I don't know many things about her.
is concerned.



Does 3-"I don't remember many things that happened that night." mean exactly the same as:
3a-There are many things that happened that night and that I don' t remember. (and may_be many things that I do remember)?

I know I may be complicating things. If that is the case, just ignore this post!
 

RonBee

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I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night.

You could also say: "I don't remember much that happened that night."

There are a lot of things that happened that night and that I don' t remember.

That's okay except that you should delete the "and", thus: "There are a lot of things that happened that night that I don't remember."

I don't know many things about her.

That seems to me to be about the same as I don't remember much about her. (Others might have a different interpretation.)

Does 3-"I don't remember many things that happened that night." mean exactly the same as:
3a-There are many things that happened that night and that I don' t remember. (and may_be many things that I do remember)?

Yes and no. Just because there is much that you don't remember that doesn't mean there is much that you do remember. (It is possible that more clarification will be necessary here. I await further developments. :wink: -)

I know I may be complicating things. If that is the case, just ignore this post!

Not at all!. It's figuring out how to answer these questions that is the fun of it. :wink:

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navi tasan

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I think that right from the start I have not expressed myself clearly:
In:
3a-"There are a lot of things that happened that night that I don' t remember."
It is not clear whether I do remember many things or not. We just know that I have forgotten a lot of things. There are a lot of things I DON't remember, but may-be there are a lot of OTHER things that I do remember.

Now, does
3-"I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night."
mean the exact same thing? Could I remember a lot of OTHER things?

I have the same question about all these sentences:
A-I don't know a lot of things about her. (could I know at the same time a lot of other things about her. It seems to me that the answer is no)
B-I don't remember many things that happened that night. (could I remember many other things that happened that night?)
C-I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night. (could I remember a lot of other things?)
 

RonBee

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navi tasan said:
I think that right from the start I have not expressed myself clearly:
In:
3a-"There are a lot of things that happened that night that I don' t remember."
It is not clear whether I do remember many things or not. We just know that I have forgotten a lot of things. There are a lot of things I DON't remember, but may-be there are a lot of OTHER things that I do remember.

That makes sense. If you are aware that there are a lot of things you don't remember you must have some memory or you wouldn't know that.

Now, does
3-"I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night."
mean the exact same thing? Could I remember a lot of OTHER things?

Yes, I think so. The statement does suggest that your memory is at best incomplete.

A-I don't know a lot of things about her. (could I know at the same time a lot of other things about her. It seems to me that the answer is no)

While there may be things you do know about her, that statement does not, IMO, indicate that.

B-I don't remember many things that happened that night. (could I remember many other things that happened that night?)

It's possible, but if there are many things you do remember it would certainly be puzzling why there are also many things you don't remember.

C-I don't remember a lot of things that happened that night. (could I remember a lot of other things?)

Yes, it is possible, although it seems unlikely.

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