Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ambiguity


The headline above (Straits Times web, 20 October 2009) is unintentionally ambiguous and amusing.

The noun phrase ageing panel is intended to mean ‘panel that works on issues involving ageing’ (ageing is a noun here), but arguably the more obvious and natural reading would be ‘panel of ageing members’ (ageing as adjective).

2 comments:

Vincent Tan said...

This is perhaps the most interesting part of grammar. The analysis of the word in front of the head noun can create a tonne of misunderstanding. Should it be an adjective or a noun, should be analysed properly.

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