Make sure to throw away all the paper on the floor.

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orientalmocha

New Member
Korean
Hello,

I need your help in this sentence.

If someone says to me "Make sure to throw away all the paper on the floor.",

does it mean that

I have to discard all the paper ON THE FLOOR(not on any other places)

or

I have to get rid of all the paper WHICH IS on the floor?

The latter sounds more natural to me, however, is there any possibility for native speakers to understand this sentence
by the meaning of "throwing away the paper on the specific place(on the floor, in this case)?

Thansk in advance.:)
 
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  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Hi orientalmacha: welcome to the forum! :)

    "Make sure to throw away all the paper on the floor." means I have to get rid of all the paper WHICH IS on the floor.

    I don't think it's ambiguous because the original sentence says "throw away":
    "Make sure to throw all the paper on the floor." would mean I have to discard all the paper ON THE FLOOR(not on any other places).
     

    orientalmocha

    New Member
    Korean
    Ooops! Another problem.

    Throw cigarette butts away at the nearest trash- means to get rid of cigarette butts from the nearest trash can and discard them to the another place?? I'm so confused.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    We simply wouldn't say that, so no ambiguity. We might say "Throw cigarette butts into the nearest (whatever)." I say "whatever," because I wouldn't write a sign suggesting throwing cigarette butts into the trash, where one might catch fire.

    Same with your original sentence – Make sure to throw away all the paper on the floor. If we wanted it on the floor, we would just drop "away." If we wanted it picked up, we would say that: Pick up all the paper on the floor and discard properly. Or whatever.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    "Throw cigarette butts away in the nearest trash/litter bin" is how we would say it.

    To arrive at the meaning you've given there you'd have to say something like "Empty all the cigarette butts from the trash/litter bin".
     

    orientalmocha

    New Member
    Korean
    The thing is, each sentence has a same prepositional phrase after the noun. But in the original sentence, it is used as an "adjectival" phrase and in the one Donny.B suggested, it is used as an "adverbial" phrase, right? I want to know what made this difference.
     
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