Reply to "dead or alive"

navi posted:

Which are correct and make sense in a world where there are no living dead:

1) They included thirty revolutionaries, dead or alive, in the list.
2) They included thirty revolutionaries, dead and alive, in the list.

3) They included thirty dead or living revolutionaries in the list.
4) They included thirty dead and living revolutionaries in the list.

Hello, Navi,

Navi meets Bon Jovi. That's what I thought upon reading your title.

I do see your "living dead" interpretation for (2) and (4); however, that was not the first interpretation of those sentences which came to my mind. Indeed, I think all four sentences are "correct and make sense in a world in which there are no living dead."

There are differences, though. I read (1) as saying that the list included thirty revolutionaries, regardless of whether they were living or dead; (2) as saying that the some living and some dead were included; (3) as implying that whether they were living or dead is not known to the speaker; and (4) as ambiguous.

In (4), we could have thirty "living dead," or thirty living and thirty dead.

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