Uncertainties, Ambiguities & Contradictions


I need your help. Which word in the heading appears not to belong to the rest? I thought one did not, but I was uncertain so I looked all of them up. I knew what uncertainty meant , but I was unsure of ambiguities. The dictionary defined it as “doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention: to speak with ambiguity; an ambiguity of manner. Or two, an unclear, indefinite, or equivocal word, expression, meaning, etc.: a contract free of ambiguities; the ambiguities of modern poetry.”

Does that not make ambiguities a synonym of uncertainty?

I saw all three together in a sentence written by Nigel Fabb in his book Language and Literary Structure.  Here is what he wrote, “…literary form is seen to be a kind of meaning, a description of itself which the text communicates to the reader, and has all the complex characteristics associated with meaning: uncertainties, ambiguities, and contradictions.” (page 2)

Following the normal way I play the game of “What doesn’t belong here?” I would eliminate contradiction. In actuality, I think contradiction is a hint for eliminating the real outsider “ambiguities” because as I see it now, it is a contradiction of meaning by meaning the same thing as uncertainty. Therefore, I submit it should read, “uncertainties, ambiguities: contradictions” or just read, “uncertainties and contradictions.” Or if one prefers the word ambiguities,  then write, “ambiguities and contradictions.”

Have I lost you? If no, that is a miracle.

If no, I ask how you explain these three words belonging together in a list of characteristics associated with the meaning of literary form?  If you don’t care that’s okay. I had fun writing out loud.

7 thoughts on “Uncertainties, Ambiguities & Contradictions

    • fictionfitz October 29, 2013 / 7:33 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I love the word ambiguities. I think I would vote for it with certainty. :>)

  1. neonwalrus October 29, 2013 / 8:43 pm

    Words are for communication. Often emotional evocation.

    The words, as strung, contradicted communicating as it’s ambiguities led to an emotional withdrawal through their uncertainty.

    Lost you, too…drat.

  2. Carole Webber October 30, 2013 / 5:50 am

    An ambiguous message, full of uncertainty. and sometimes contradictory.

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