Has your own language played tricks with you recently? I’m talking about those cases when you say something and a second later you realize that people understand something completely different. It happened to me twice last week, and I thought it’s an interesting topic to write about.
I bought an item for $5 in a store. Gave the cashier a $20 bill. She gave me $10 and $5 back. I said, “Can you, please, give me five dollar bills?” What do you think I meant and what do you think she heard? I needed a few one-dollar bills to give someone two dollars. She thought, I wanted the change in five-dollar bills and gave me three five-dollar bills instead of $10 and $5. It took me about three attempts to formulate what I wanted unambiguously: “Can you, please, give me five one-dollar bills?”
Now, what do you think is shown in this picture?
Two couches side-by-side. Right? “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
Taking fragments out of context is another interesting topic.