What is amphibology?

Amphibology is the use of words with more than one interpretation. It is considered a vice of diction since it can generate errors in the communication process. But if its use is intentional, then it is a resource.

In this sense, amphibology is frequently used in the humorous or advertising field to generate an emotional impact on the public.

Amphibology comes from the Greek ἀμφίβολος, which means ambiguous.

Examples of amphibology

This sale notice became a meme for the inappropriate use of amphibology.

These examples can help you better understand what an amphibology is:

Are coats made of fur and are they for men or is human skin used to make coats?

Do you go unaccompanied to the street or do you go exclusively to the street?

Will you hire Luis or Raúl?

Who was in a hurry?

Is the dog named Arthur or is someone named Arthur compared to a dog?

Are bikes carbon or adults carbon?

What was dark, the sofa or the living room?

Was the person very insistent in saying that they did not steal or did they say that they do not steal often?

Was the veal thirteen years old or was the meat thirteen years old on a griddle?

In whose car, his or his wife's?

Does Luis have an animal or is Luis compared to an animal?

Is the iguana friendly to dogs or does the iguana eat dogs?

Did Ernesto talk to himself for half an hour or did he speak only for half an hour?

Does the team play in a home that they own or does the team play home?

Do you lend the motorcycle or the bicycle?

Did the woman give birth to a baby or did she use a light to illuminate it?

Did the robbers have clothing similar to that worn by the police or did they wear dresses?

Did Ana go out with her husband or with her friend's husband?

It may interest you: Ambiguity.

What are the applications of amphibology?

Amphibology is a resource that is used in the humorous field, since it invites the receiver to discover the meaning of what was said to unleash its hilarity.

An example is in this quote from Les Luthiers:

Was Mastropiero passionate about the volumes in the library or those of the Marchioness of Quintanilla?

In advertising, amphibology should be used with caution, since the goal is that any interpretation of the phrase favors the product to be promoted.

In addition, the use of ambiguity implies that the people who will be exposed to the advertising content must understand the pun for the resource to make sense.

An example of the good use of amphibology in advertising was a slogan created in Argentina for a well-known brand of anti-dandruff shampoo:

The shampoo is understood to be formulated for dandruff, but could also be understood to "stop" dandruff. In this case, both interpretations benefit the product.

Tags:  Expressions-In-English Expressions-Popular Sayings And Proverbs