Ambiguity.

jamal mohammed

Member
libya,arabic
Dear friends,
I would like you to clarify this ambiguity when the expression"Only old men and women" is used in the sentence"Only old men and women must be rescued first ." does it mean"Only old men+old women"or"Only old men +(anyage) women" ? thank you. your help is appreciated.
 
  • quilks

    Member
    English, UK
    It really is difficult to tell! However, I would guess that it meant old men and any women - because if it meant old men and old women, they would have just written "the elderly" which means both and is more eloquent.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    As a rule, "women and children" come first. It would be impolite to say "old men and women."
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I would imagine that after women and child it might be old men next. Which is a bit daft - if anyone is to be sacrificed it should not be those with their lives ahead of them.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    river said:
    As a rule, "women and children" come first. It would be impolite to say "old men and women."
    In an emergency situation, I expect the old men would welcome being rescued, rather than object at the rudeness of the terminology:D
    There was a time when old was considered complimentary ...
     
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