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§22.10. Ambiguities

Another possible ambiguity occurs when a phrase might match two lexically different possibilities using the same words.

say the dishcloth;

could be construed as a usage of either of these cases:

say the (something - a thing)
say (something - a thing)

These of course have different effects - one produces the name with a definite article, the other just the name, so the difference is important.

The rule here is that whichever possibility contains the most words, in this case "say the (...)", takes precedence, because it's assumed to be a more specific form of the less wordy version.

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