Dictionary.com Word FAQs
What is ambiguity in writing?
Ambiguity is any writing whose meaning cannot be determined by its context. A word, phrase, sentence, or other communication is called ambiguous if it can be (reasonably) interpreted in more than one way, i.e., when at least two specific meanings can make sense in the chosen context. Ambiguity should not be confused with vagueness, in which a word or phrase has one meaning whose boundaries are not sharply defined, i.e., the meaning is not clear in the context. Ambiguity may be introduced accidentally, confusing the readers and disrupting the flow of reading. If a sentence or paragraph jars upon reading, there is lurking ambiguity. It is particularly difficult to spot your own ambiguities, since authors tend to see what they mean rather than what they say. It is strongly recommended that you let another person read what you have written before submission or publication.