Don't cut the trees in the yard.

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Hiden

Senior Member
japanese
Does Don't cut the trees in the yard have two possible meanings, depending on whether the scope of the not is on the trees in the yard as a whole or on in the yard alone, as in (1) and (2) below:
(1) Don't cut [the trees in the yard].
(2) Don't cut the trees [in the yard].
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Does "Don't cut the trees in the yard." have two possible meanings? Yes, it does.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you for your insight. How would you say if you wanted to make the difference between (1) and (2) clear?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    (1) Don't cut [the trees in the yard]. -> Don't cut any of the trees that are in the yard.
    (2) Don't cut the trees [in the yard]. -> Don't cut up any of the trees inside the yard - take them outside.
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Odds are a statement like this would be made in a specific context, and the person to whom you were speaking would know which one you meant. You would need additional clarifying clauses to make your meaning clear.

    1) Don't cut the trees in the yard, just the bushes.
    2) Don't cut the trees in the yard, just the ones on the side of the house.


    Vocal inflection would also make the distinction.

    1) Don't cut the trees in the yard.
    2) Don't cut the trees in the yard.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you for always answering my questions, PaulQ. You've been helpful!

    Many thanks for your insight, dukaine. You have been helpful.
     
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