Skip to main content
University of Newcastle Library guides

Common feedback comments and what they mean: Ambiguous sentence: wrong word choice

This guide lists some common feedback comments and explains what they mean.

Ambiguous sentence: wrong word choice

Ambiguous sentence: wrong word choice

An ambiguous sentence has two or more possible meanings within a single sentence or sequence of words. This can confuse the reader and make the meaning of the sentence unclear.

When you use an incorrect word, it stops the flow of the sentence and can often confuse the reader and change the meaning of the sentence.

Example: Corruption in Australia often appears to be a victimless crime, but defiantly one of the most harmful to society.

1.    Problem: The incorrect word ‘ defiantly’  stops the flow of the sentence
2.    Corrected: Corruption in Australia often appears to be a victimless crime, but definitely one of the most harmful to society.


Example: We saw her duck.

1.    Problem:  There are three meanings to this sentence.
We looked at her bend quickly to avoid something.
We looked at a duck that belonged to her.
We use a saw to cut her duck.

2.    Corrected:
We saw her duck to avoid the ball.
We saw her duck gliding on the pond.
We decided to cut up her duck by using a saw.

Pathways and Learning Support

Contact us if you need help

www.newcastle.edu.au/ctl-ld

Students can access

  • Workshops
  • Maths & stats help
  • Online resources
  • Consultations
  • e-Consultations

t: 61 2 4921 5350

e: ld@newcastle.edu.au