a student was not

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a student was not

Post by azz » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:08 pm

a. A student was not in the class.
b. A single student was not in the class.


Can't these mean two things
1. There was a specific student missing from the class. All the others who were supposed to be there, were there.
2. There weren't any students in the class.

Many thanks.
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Re: a student was not

Post by tony h » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:43 am

"A single student was not in the class" is a difficult wording from which to find meaning - by which I mean: it doesn't really make sense. But any sense it does have is limited to there only being one student missing.
Reordering it to "not a single student was in the class." does produce the meaning that all students were missing.

"A student was not in the class" means: "There was a non-specific student missing from the class. All the others who were supposed to be there, were there.:
For it to be a "specific student" you would need to change A to The unless the "a specific " was inflected in some way which may be indicated by using italics. "There was a specific student missing from the class."
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

End of topic.
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