another

One of my sisters texted that her husband had been offered a new job in his preferred area of sales. A few days later, she texted that “another rep had been hired”. I had to check “as well as, or instead of”. Fortunately, it was “as well as”. 

There are two sets of ambiguity about another. One is “as well as” v “instead of” and the other is “of the same kind” v “of a different kind”. These sometimes overlap. If you’re halfway through eating your pizza when I arrive, and offer me the other half, I might say “No thanks, I want another pizza”, I probably mean “of a different kind”/“instead of” (and might also mean a whole nother pizza*). Indeed I might say “I want a different pizza”. But if I’ve already eaten one pizza and say “I want another pizza”, I could mean “of the same kind” or “of a different kind”, but it has to be “as well”, because I’ve already eaten the first one. Note that if my brother-in-law had already started his new job, the ambiguity in my sister’s text would have disappeared; hiring another rep can only mean “as well”. My brother-in-law was caught in ambiguity time.

I have a random memory from many years ago, involving the same sister. One summer holiday we were staying at the house of a family we knew, as they were at their holiday house. On the Sunday morning we were sitting in the car waiting to go to church when that sister suddenly got out and said “I’m going to put another dress on”. Our father said “Won’t you be too hot wearing two dresses?”, which is such a dad thing to say.

* This is not my natural usage, but I couldn’t resist. And it’s older than you probably think.

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