When the ambiguity lies in words used by
others, they can never do us any harm, unless he
who uttered them be unknown or dead; I will give
two illustrations of my meaning: “A cry was heard
at night, 'Be on your guard against the establishment of a tyranny';” and, “on being asked who
had poisoned him, he replied: 'It is not fit that you
should know.'” For if the speaker is available for
examination, he will clear up the ambiguity.
Quintilian. With An English Translation. Harold Edgeworth Butler. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1922.
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