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10.5: Back up Time Machine's sparse image bundles
Authored by: gshenaut on Aug 08, '08 06:57:10AM

Each state is part of the United States, all states are part of the United States;
Each state has a capital city, all states have a capital city.

The problem isn't grammar, it's quantifier-scope ambiguity. In context, only one of the two meanings makes sense, which in fact is usually true, so syntactic disambiguation is less important here than in contexts where both meanings could make sense. If you really needed to use syntax to disambiguate that sentence, you could go for something like "{Each backup|All backups} of a given computer {is|are} stored in the sparse image associated with that computer's internal ethernet adapter's address" (I don't actually know if that's true, it's just an example for syntactic purposes).

I think that "each" was used here (by the way) because the writer was focusing on the fact that there is a sequence of individual backups, each of which goes into the same image file. If you were focusing primarily on the aggregate all at once ("all of the backups in the image file were corrupted") then perhaps he would have used "all".

Greg Shenaut



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