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AmbiguitiesAnything that is said to be ambiguous is open to more than one interpretation. Sentences and words that are ambiguous have more than one possible meaning.
Put the box on the table by the window in the kitchen is an ambiguous sentence. It could mean any of the following:
Ambiguous Newspaper HeadlinesNewspaper headlines need to be as short as possible, so whilst they obey grammatical rules, they tend to omit little, unimportant words like the and is. But are these words unimportant? The result of leaving them out can result in highly ambiguous sentences, which are often quite amusing.
These are real newspaper headlines:
Garden Path SentencesCan you understand these sentences? They are all grammatical, but because of ambiguity we find them difficult to understand (explanations here).
More on AmbiguityBrowse our wordplay book shop for reviews and recommendations of related books. In the Ambiguity Section, you will find books of puns (which take advantage of linguistic ambiguity), as well as more ambiguous newspaper headlines, and more academic books about ambiguity in linguistics.
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