THE AMBIGUITY OF “AH, SOLDIER!” William Empson in SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY says that “The fundamental situation, whether it deserves to be called ambiguous or not, is that a word or a grammatical structure is effective in several ways at once.” The phrase “Ah, Soldier!” presents a special case of ambiguity because it is relatively unconfined by the specific meaning of a word or words or by a grammatical structure. A sigh introduces multiple meanings, implicating all that has gone before.

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