on four occasions

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on four occasions

Post by azz » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:28 am

a. He saved a woman on four occasions.
b. On four occasions, he saved a woman.

c. He saved a woman four times.
d. He has saved a woman four times.


In which case
1. The same woman was saved four times
in which case
2. Four different women were saved on four different occasions
and in which case
3. We can't be sure


Many thanks.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:12 pm

With no guiding context, 3.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by azz » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:14 pm

Thank you so much,

How about
e) He saved someone on four occasions.
?
Is that ambiguous as well?

And how about
f) He saved two people on two occasions.
?

Can one tell if he saved one person per occasion or two people per occasion?

Many thanks.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by BonnieL » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:28 pm

Because of "a woman" each example sounds, to me, as if he saved the same woman multiple times. I would completely reword it to be clear.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by tony h » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:18 pm

BonnieL wrote:Because of "a woman" each example sounds, to me, as if he saved the same woman multiple times. I would completely reword it to be clear.
a. He saved the same woman on four occasions.
b. He saved four different women each on separate occasions.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: on four occasions

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:34 pm

tony h wrote:b. He saved four different women each on separate occasions.
I would slightly reword that:
b. He saved each of four different women on separate occasions.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by tony h » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:46 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
tony h wrote:b. He saved four different women each on separate occasions.
I would slightly reword that:
b. He saved each of four different women on separate occasions.
It does seem remarkably difficult to find a natural and succinct way of saying this unambiguously.

Maybe:
On four occasions he saved a woman, a different woman each time.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: on four occasions

Post by Phil White » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:29 pm

He has saved four women at various times/on various different occasions.

He is a lifesaver, the gender of the people he saved being female, the number of the people he saved being four and the number of occasions on which he did so also being four, with none of the people saved being saved more than once by this person.

I think either suggestion resolves any ambiguity.
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Re: on four occasions

Post by tony h » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:30 pm

Phil White wrote:He has saved four women at various times/on various different occasions.

He is a lifesaver, the gender of the people he saved being female, the number of the people he saved being four and the number of occasions on which he did so also being four, with none of the people saved being saved more than once by this person.

I think either suggestion resolves any ambiguity.
Your second is precise. I think your first allows more than one of the women to be included in a single save.
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End of topic.
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