1) I cleaned the room as ordered.
2) I cleaned the room as was ordered.

Do these mean:

a) I cleaned the room in the way I was ordered to.

or:

b) I was ordered to clean the room and I did.

================================

3) He didn't receive a blue kettle as ordered.
4) He didn't receive a blue kettle as was ordered.

Do these mean:

c) He didn't receive a blue kettle in the way it had been ordered that he should receive it.

or:

d) He did not receive a blue kettle of the kind that had been ordered.

or:

e) He did not receive a blue kettle and that was what was ordered.

Gratefully,

Navi

Original Post

Hi, Navi,

I find your sentences to be correct and ambiguous. It might be interesting to analyze the source of their ambiguity:

@navi posted:

1) I cleaned the room as ordered.
2) I cleaned the room as was ordered.

Do these mean:

a) I cleaned the room in the way I was ordered to.

or:

b) I was ordered to clean the room and I did.

Here, the source of the ambiguity lies in the polysemy of "as" (a sentence relative or a conjunction of manner).

@navi posted:

 

3) He didn't receive a blue kettle as ordered.
4) He didn't receive a blue kettle as was ordered.

Do these mean:

c) He didn't receive a blue kettle in the way it had been ordered that he should receive it.

or:

d) He did not receive a blue kettle of the kind that had been ordered.

or:

e) He did not receive a blue kettle and that was what was ordered.

The same grounds for ambiguity stated above apply here.

Also, (c) and (d) are possible interpretations because the verb "order" can be used as a verb of speaking (similar to "instruct") or as a verb meaning "place an order (for the purchase of some article)."

I think the negative form results in an additional ambiguity: what were the instructions -- that he should or should not receive a blue kettle?

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

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