a. Use the other entrance at the east side of the building.


Is there on entrance at the east side of the building or two entrances? Are we being told to use the entrance on the east side, or to use the second entrance on the east side?

If there is only one entrance on the east side, should one write
b. Use the other entrance, at the east side of the building.
c. Use the other entrance, which is at the east side of the building.

?

Presumably, we are standing on the north side, there is an entrance there, but it is closed. We are told to use the one on the east side.


Many thanks.

Original Post

Hi, Azz,

azz posted:

a. Use the other entrance at the east side of the building.


Is there on entrance at the east side of the building or two entrances? Are we being told to use the entrance on the east side, or to use the second entrance on the east side?

That is ambiguous. There may be only one, or more than one entrance on that side.

azz posted:


If there is only one entrance on the east side, should one write
b. Use the other entrance, at the east side of the building.
c. Use the other entrance, which is at the east side of the building.

?

I'd probably use (c) or (d):

d. Use the other entrance, the one on the east side of the building.

 
Gustavo, Contributor posted:
azz posted:

a. Use the other entrance at the east side of the building.


Is there on entrance at the east side of the building or two entrances? Are we being told to use the entrance on the east side, or to use the second entrance on the east side?

That is ambiguous. There may be only one, or more than one entrance on that side.

I agree that (a) is ambiguous. I think the sentence parses differently on each interpretation. On the interpretation where there are two entrances at the east side of the building, "at the east side of the building" is an adjectival modifier, modifying "the other entrance."

On the interpretation where there is one entrance at the east side, "at the east side of the building" does not modify "the other entrance." Rather, it is an adverbial modifier, modifying "use." Compare: "At the east side of the building, use the other entrance."

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