tell

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tell

Post by Quoc » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:41 am

Is this sentence correct? If not, please correct it.

Please do not tell anybody his home phone number and his mobile phone number.

Thanks

Quoc
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:06 am

I would say, "Please do not tell anybody his home phone number or [his] mobile [phone] number."

The 'phone' in 'mobile phone number' can be omitted because the reference to 'home phone number' makes it obvious that 'mobile number' also means a phone number. The second 'his' can also be omitted for similar reasons.

The sentence can be simplified even further: "Please don't tell anybody his home phone or mobile numbers."
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Post by dalehileman » Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:30 pm

It's a highly technical point, but "or" also means "and/or" so there's no ambiguity in Erik's response
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Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:08 am

dale said:

It's a highly technical point, but "or" also means "and/or" so there's no ambiguity in Erik's response
.. does it ?? .. dale I would think that if I meant and/or that is what I would write as opposed to writing either word separately for three different meanings ..

WoZ of Aus 01/01/07
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Post by dalehileman » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:14 pm

It's just what I read somewhere. Of course we are open to further input
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:27 pm

The card is red.
The card is black.
The card is red or black.
The card is red and black.
The card is red and/or black.
The card is red or black or red and black.
I see no openness to ambiguity in any of the six.
Dale, would you please write the sentence that would fit your meaning in this series?
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Post by dalehileman » Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:47 pm

Quoc could possibly have inferred that using "or" might imply that it was ok to tell both numbers, and I was assuring him that wasn't the case

So if you say, "Tell John or Bill" you mean, "It is ok to tell John and it is ok to tell Bill, although in a purely technical sense it is also ok to tell both"
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:28 pm

So "nor" would be better in Erik's first sentence?
( A diversion. I still want to see the red/black card sentence!)
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Post by dalehileman » Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:40 pm

The cards are red or black
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:23 am

Is it the three of clubs?
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:56 am

'Nor' would have to be preceded by 'neither', and I can't see how the sentence could be rewritten to incorporate them. The closest you could get would be "Please do not tell anybody either his home phone number or his mobile [phone] number."
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:05 am

Then the "either" is implied: "Please do not tell anybody [either] his home phone number or [his] mobile [phone] number."
The sentence without at least the understanding of "either" is ambiguous.

Dale's "The cards are red or black" does not make sense to me. (Except in low-light conditions, or in a darkroom.)

R.A.
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Post by dalehileman » Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:40 pm

gd: When I asked Laverne, who is a whole lot quicker than I, she said "The sentence is ok. It means that there are a number of cards, and some of them are red while some of them are black, though all could be red or all black"
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Post by Shelley » Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:15 am

"Please reveal neither his home phone number nor his mobile phone number." I don't expect anyone would really phrase it this way, but it can be done. It almost sounds like an instruction to give out the numbers, rather than withhold them.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:13 am

It's always instructive to be set straight. :-)
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