History Main / AmbiguousSyntax

27th Aug '16 2:24:17 AM SubbyP
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

* JonathanCoulton has a song called "Nobody Loves You Like Me." Does it mean "nobody loves you like I love you" or "nobody loves you and nobody loves me either"? The answer seems to be [[TakeAThirdOption both.]]
18th Aug '16 7:44:04 AM nighttrainfm
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

** In the first episode, Richard IV asks Prince Edmund, "Fight you with us on the morrow?" Blackadder hastily replies that he'll be fighting with the enemy. Cue awkward pause.
17th Jul '16 5:31:06 AM DaibhidC
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* The panelists of the [=BBC=] science show ''The Infinite Monkey Cage'' occasionally get derailed into discussions about the title of the show. If a cage is infinite, how is it a cage? Or is it a finite cage somehow containing an infinite number of monkeys? Or is it just one single, infinitely huge monkey, and if so, how could there even ''be'' a cage...?

to:

* The panelists of the [=BBC=] science show ''The Infinite Monkey Cage'' ''Radio/TheInfiniteMonkeyCage'' occasionally get derailed into discussions about the title of the show. If a cage is infinite, how is it a cage? Or is it a finite cage somehow containing an infinite number of monkeys? Or is it just one single, infinitely huge monkey, and if so, how could there even ''be'' a cage...?


Added DiffLines:

* Sometimes used in the Complete Quotes round on ''Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue'', for example:
-->'''Jack''': Music/RodStewart: "If there's one thing I've learned about women, that I've tried to pass on to my boys, it's..."
-->'''Barry''': "...they don't like being passed on to my boys."
11th Jul '16 12:51:45 AM Morgenthaler
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' uses a similar garden-path sentence early on in its first arc: "When the goat turns [[RedheadedHero red]] strikes true."

to:

* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' uses a similar garden-path sentence early on in its first arc: "When the goat turns [[RedheadedHero red]] red strikes true."
23rd Jun '16 5:09:09 AM Doug86
Is there an issue? Send a Message


--> From the ''{{Peanuts}}'' JustBugsMe page:

to:

--> From the ''{{Peanuts}}'' ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' JustBugsMe page:
2nd Jun '16 10:27:48 AM LordGro
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* [[Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat 'Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off']]. Obviously a dead Charles the First cannot have done this, so add punctuation and voila 'Charles the First walked and talked; half an hour after, his head was cut off.'.[[labelnote:note]]This only works in UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish, though. The American version would be 'half an hour ''later'' or ''afterwards'''.[[/labelnote]]

to:

* [[Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat ''Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat'': 'Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off']].off'. Obviously a dead Charles the First cannot have done this, so add punctuation and voila 'Charles the First walked and talked; half an hour after, his head was cut off.'.[[labelnote:note]]This only works in UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish, though. The American version would be 'half an hour ''later'' or ''afterwards'''.[[/labelnote]]
2nd Jun '16 10:09:22 AM The_Sluagh
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* [[Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat 'Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off']]. Obviously a dead Charles the First cannot have done this, so add punctuation and voila 'Charles the First walked and talked - half an hour after, his head was cut off.'.[[labelnote:note]]This only works in UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish, though. The American version would be 'half an hour ''later'' or ''afterwards'''.[[/labelnote]]

to:

* [[Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat 'Charles the First walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off']]. Obviously a dead Charles the First cannot have done this, so add punctuation and voila 'Charles the First walked and talked - talked; half an hour after, his head was cut off.'.[[labelnote:note]]This only works in UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish, though. The American version would be 'half an hour ''later'' or ''afterwards'''.[[/labelnote]]
1st Jun '16 12:12:01 PM MikeK
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* Mike Doughty's "Rising Sign" includes the deliberately ambiguous line "I resent the way you make me like myself". "Like" can be read as a verb or a preposition in the context, so it could mean either "I resent that you make me feel good about myself" or "I resent that you make me act in a way characteristic of myself".

to:

* [[Music/SoulCoughing Mike Doughty's Doughty's]] "Rising Sign" includes the deliberately ambiguous line "I resent the way you make me like myself". "Like" can be read as a verb or a preposition in the context, so it could mean either "I resent that you make me feel good about myself" or "I resent that you make me act in a way characteristic of myself".
1st Jun '16 12:10:18 PM MikeK
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* The last verse of Music/TheKinks' "Lola" ends in "...I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola". This could either mean that the naive narrator never found out that Lola was a man at all ("Lola and I are both glad that I am a man"), or that he ''did'' eventually figure it out and just doesn't mind ("I'm glad that Lola and I are both men" or [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs I'm glad I'm a man, and Lola is also glad she's a man."]]).

to:

* The last verse of Music/TheKinks' "Lola" ends in "...I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola". This could either mean that the naive narrator never found out that Lola was a man transvestite at all ("Lola and I are both glad that I am a man"), or that he ''did'' eventually figure it out and just doesn't mind ("I'm glad that Lola and I are both men" or [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs I'm glad I'm a man, and Lola is also glad she's a man."]]).
9th May '16 1:41:47 PM escamilla
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* In a 'garden path sentence,' ambiguous syntax leads to misinterpretation of a phrase because a particular reading is more quickly analyzed by the reader's brain. For example, "The horse raced past the barn fell," is a perfectly grammatical sentence. If you are a native English speaker, however, there is a very high probability your brain was garden-pathed into interpreting "The horse raced past the barn" as Subject-Verb-Object. That's a complete thought, and your brain was satisfied until you got to 'fell' and were confused. However, "The horse raced past the barn" could also be a noun phrase with 'horse' as the noun and all other words modifying 'horse.' (Which horse? The horse raced past the barn. The horse that was raced past the barn fell.) This is mentioned in the Webcomics section under Dinosaur Comics as well. Interestingly, though the sentence is a famous garden-path example, it's technically ambiguous: Either the "horse raced past the barn" fell (down), or the horse (was) raced past the "barn fell", referring to the uncommon noun usage of a fell[[note]]an area of uncultivated high grounds used for grazing[[/note]] identified by its concurrence with the location of the barn.[[note]]

to:

* In a 'garden path sentence,' ambiguous syntax leads to misinterpretation of a phrase because a particular reading is more quickly analyzed by the reader's brain. For example, "The horse raced past the barn fell," is a perfectly grammatical sentence. If you are a native English speaker, however, there is a very high probability your brain was garden-pathed into interpreting "The horse raced past the barn" as Subject-Verb-Object. That's a complete thought, and your brain was satisfied until you got to 'fell' and were confused. However, "The horse raced past the barn" could also be a noun phrase with 'horse' as the noun and all other words modifying 'horse.' (Which horse? The horse raced past the barn. The horse that was raced past the barn fell.) This is mentioned in the Webcomics section under Dinosaur Comics as well. Interestingly, though the sentence is a famous garden-path example, it's technically ambiguous: Either the "horse raced past the barn" fell (down), or the horse (was) raced past the "barn fell", referring to the uncommon noun usage of a fell[[note]]an area of uncultivated high grounds used for grazing[[/note]] identified by its concurrence with the location of the barn.[[note]]



* Ancient Chinese didn't have punctuation marks, relying on context to determine the flow of a sentence instead. Jokes based on ambiguous syntax abound, including the famous 下雨天留客天留我不留.

to:

* Ancient Chinese didn't have punctuation marks, relying on context to determine the flow of a sentence instead. Jokes based on ambiguous syntax abound, including the famous 下雨天留客天留我不留.下雨天留客天天留我不留; differing punctuation yields different ideas about whether a guest should stay or go on a rainy day: 下雨天留客天天留我不留 A: 下雨天[a rainy day]留客天 [is a day for keeping visitors]天留我不留 [The weather keeps the visitor, but I don't!]; B: 下雨天[a rainy day]留客天[is a day for keeping visitors]天留我不? [Does the weather keep me?] 留! [Yes!]
This list shows the last 10 events of 529. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.AmbiguousSyntax