sent him to Venice

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azz

Senior Member
armenian
a. To have some peace and quiet, we sent him to Venice.
b. We sent him to Venice in order to have some peace and quiet.

Are we going to have some peace and quiet or him?

I think the sentences imply that we sent him away to get rid of him for a while and have some peace and quiet. But then again, couldn't they mean that we sent him there so he would have a break?

c. We sent him to Venice to have some peace and quiet.

Here, it seems more likely that he is to have some peace and quiet. But the sentence can still have two meanings as far as I can see.

Many Thanks.
Azz
 
  • MikeNewYork

    Senior Member
    English-American
    a. To have some peace and quiet, we sent him to Venice.
    b. We sent him to Venice in order to have some peace and quiet.

    Are we going to have some peace and quiet or him?

    I think the sentences imply that we sent him away to get rid of him for a while and have some peace and quiet. But then again, couldn't they mean that we sent him there so he would have a break?

    c. We sent him to Venice to have some peace and quiet.

    Here, it seems more likely that he is to have some peace and quiet. But the sentence can still have two meanings as far as I can see.

    Many Thanks.
    Azz
    I agree with you.

    In the first sentence, by the placement of the modifier, it is clear that "we" will have peace and quiet.
    In the second, it is less clear, but it probably means the same as the first.
    In the third sentence, it is clear that "him/he will have the peace and quiet.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    All have some level of ambiguity. The first sentence is still pretty clear, but not totally unambiguous. The use of the infinitive "to have some ..." could refer forward or back to either we or him. This is a great example of why context is so important in understanding the meaning(s) of some sentences. "for us to have ..." or "for him to have ..." would be needed to remove the ambiguity, in the absence of other sense in the (con)text.
     

    Alby84

    Senior Member
    American English
    You could remove most of the ambiguity by rephrasing it as:

    We sent him off to Venice to get the peace and quiet he deserved.

    This way it sounds much more like you are sending him there for his own good, rather than for any particular profit on your end.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The one I find unambiguous is sentence a. (i.e. we got the peace and quiet since we is the subject of the sentence). If it referred to him, I would write So that he would have some peace and quiet, we sent him to Venice.
     
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