Hi

Could you give your views on this question?

While discussing a statement related to a reasoning question, a student of mine came up the question. I have given it below.

This is the statement:

All men are not handsome.

While I interpreted it as not every one of them is handsome, the student asked me can we interpret it as none of them is handsome?

Please give your views.


Suresh

This is more a matter of logic than a matter of grammar.

Here are a few thoughts.

All men are handsome. Easy to understand.

Not all men are handsome. This is not commonly said. Most people take this to mean 'some men are handsome, some men are not handsome'.

All men are not handsome. I wouldn't say this is wrong. But I never hear anyone say this, probably because it is hard to understand.

Clive

I understand.

Thank you, Clive.

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vsuresh

Hi

Could you give your views on this question?

While discussing a statement related to a reasoning question, a student of mine came up the question. I have given it below.

This is the statement:

All men are not handsome.

While I interpreted it as not every one of them is handsome, the student asked me can we interpret it as none of them is handsome?

Please give your views.


Suresh

Whenever you have a universal quantifier (all, both, every, ...) in the subject position together with a negation in the predicate, you end up with a logically ambiguous sentence. Each of you (you and your student) came up with one of the two possibilities for interpreting such an ambiguous sentence.

See Not all
See What the sentence means?
See Quantifiers

CJ

I understand. Thank you, CJ.

I went through your explanation and examples in the posts you have mentioned.

Please tell me if I got them right.

All men are not handsome. ?! Ambiguous and thus should be avoided.


I am sure this is grammatical and logical.

Some men are handsome.


But, I have question about this sentence.

Not all men are handsome.

I mean there are some who are not handsome. Is it correct?

Does this sentence allow any other interpretation?


Please give your views.


Suresh

vsureshAll men are not handsome. ?! Ambiguous and thus should be avoided.

Exactly.

vsureshI am sure this is grammatical and logical.
Some men are handsome.

Yes. It's fine. It's logically equivalent to "There exists at least one man who is handsome". Of course, nobody would express it that way in ordinary conversation.

vsureshBut, I have question about this sentence.
Not all men are handsome.
I mean there are some who are not handsome. Is it correct?

That's right. Yes. The claim is that you can find at least one man who is not handsome.

vsureshDoes this sentence allow any other interpretation?

No.

CJ

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Thank you, CJ.