...few people were willing to go to the mountains, especially women.

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Via32

Senior Member
Hungarian
"In our village, few people were willing to go to the mountains, especially women."

Hi,

Could someone explain me please why the sentence above means "In our village, people were unwilling to go to the mountains, especially women."? :confused:
I understood it immediately as "'women' among those 'few' (women were willing to)", and can't see the other meaning.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I do not really understand your question. Has someone told you that this is ambiguous (has two possible meanings)?

    I would read it as: the women were less keen than the men to go to the mountiains, but nobody was very keen.
     

    Teachinglang

    Member
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Hey!

    I agree with suzi br's interpretation.

    Is your question: why does "especially women" in this sentence mean that women were especially unwilling to go to the mountains? (Instead of the opposite, that they were among the few that did want to go?)

    My hunch is that it's because "few people" is not the same as "a few people".

    "Few people" in this sentence means "almost nobody" -> almost nobody was keen on going to the mountains -> most people did not want to go to the mountains. "Especially women" refers back to this meaning: women in particular did not want to go the mountains.

    This in contrast with a hypothetical sentence with "a few people", meaning "a couple of people" (two or three or four...):
    A few people were willing to go to the mountains, especially/mostly women -> there were a few people that wanted to go to the mountains, and they were mostly women.

    Does that answer your question?
     

    Via32

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you Suzi, no, no one said it was ambiguous, I just didn't understand why the sentence means what it means, as opposed to what I thought it means. I hope that makes sense :)

    Teachinglang, thanks so much, this is exactly the explanation I needed, now everything is clear! Probably my question was less understandable for a native speaker, as for them the meaning is obvious of course! :)

    Thanks again!
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Thank you Suzi, no, no one said it was ambiguous, I just didn't understand why the sentence means what it means, as opposed to what I thought it means. I hope that makes sense :)

    Teachinglang, thanks so much, this is exactly the explanation I needed, now everything is clear! Probably my question was less understandable for a native speaker, as for them the meaning is obvious of course! :)

    Thanks again!
    Yes, it is sometimes hard to know what a learnere is stuck on, but I have to say the answer given by TeachingLang was excellent!
     
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