October 24, 2008
AMPHIBOLOGY – n. a phrase or sentence that is grammatically ambiguous.
The Wikipedia article contains some examples of amphibologies. Some of them are pretty humorous. Like this one from Groucho Marx: “I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.” Here, the sentence beginning “I once shot…” is an amphibology.
With this new knowledge, the next time you’re proof-reading a paper for a friend they’ll be so impressed when you tell them that you found a few amphibologies that need to be clarified.