Read this ambiguous sentence: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.”
Does that mean, ‘Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression’ or
Does it mean, ‘Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default’?
1. Sanction can mean ‘give official permission or approval for (an action)’ or conversely, ‘impose a penalty on.’
2. Oversight is the noun form of two verbs with contrary meanings, “oversee” and “overlook.”
“Oversee,” means ‘supervise’ “Overlook” usually means the opposite: ‘to fail to see or observe; to pass over without noticing; to disregard, ignore.’
3. Dust, is a noun turned into a verb meaning either to add or to remove the thing in question. Only the context will tell you which it is. When you dust are you applying dust or removing it? It depends whether you’re dusting the crops or the furniture.
5. Seed can also go either way. If you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.
6. Stone is another verb to use with caution. You can stone some peaches, but please don’t stone your neighbor (even if he says he likes to get stoned)…Continue Reading >>