for the fifth time

Discussion in 'English Only' started by azz, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. azz Senior Member

    a. I saw that film for the fifth time on the internet.

    Does this mean that on all the four previous times also I had seen it on the net?
    Let us say I had seen it twice in the theater and twice on the net and I saw it one more time on the net.

    Could I use:

    b. I saw that film for the fifth time, on the internet.

    Will the comma affect the meaning? Will it leave open the possibility that the four previous times were not necessarily "on the net"?

    That is my feeling. With the comma, the sentence seems to be saying that the fifth time was on the net without saying anything about the other times.

    Thank you.
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    I suspect that there's no way of rescuing this from the clutches of ambiguity by commas alone. You'll have to adds some words. 'I saw that film for the fifth time, only/but/though this time it was on the internet.'
  3. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    In speech, emphasis can remove the ambiguity. If you want to say that this last, fifth, viewing was on the internet you would emphasise as follows: "I saw that film for the fifth time on the internet." This would make it clear that you were not necessarily referring to the previous four viewings as having been seen on the internet. For greater clarity, as Beryl says, you would have to be specific: "I saw this film for the second, third and fourth times in the cinema, and on the first and fifth times on the internet". However, I think your interlocutor might have got bored by the time you finished the sentence.

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