Vol. 18 – May 9, 2005

Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns

Ambiguities are words or phrases that can have more than one meaning. The mild confusion that results is conducive to developing trance. We’ll be covering four different categories of ambiguities. Last week we looked at phonological ambiguities. Today we examine…

Pattern 19. Scope Ambiguity
A sentence in which it is unclear (and therefore open to interpretation) how much a verb or adverb or adjective refers to.

Consider the sentence “Look at the nice men and women.” Does the adjective “nice” refer to the men and the women or just the men? Perhaps the women are less than nice.

In the sentence “I wonder how soon you’ll discover that you are sitting, listening to the sound of my voice, relaxing in the chair and drifting deeply into a trance?” the verb “discover” could refer to the whole sentence or just what comes before the “and.” (If it refers to the whole sentence then everything before the “and” is presupposed.)

Thus, when a person claims, “I am a Certified Master-Practitioner and Trainer,” be wary. They could mean they are certified as just one or both!

Now STOP WRITE NOW. (That’s RIGHT. That’s a phonological ambiguity, isn’t it? You’re noticing these things, aren’t you?) All you smart women and men, write at least 20 examples before you do anything else. Do it now. Do it today. Then do more tomorrow. Do 100 for the week. You’ll be glad you did.

See you next week.