The title of the book I am reading, Fools Crow, is a perfect example: Is it noun-verb (the fools are crowing) or verb-noun (he fools the Crow Indians)? In this case, it is the latter, but it took me a while to know. A friend pointed out that if you hear the title and can't see that there is no apostrophe, it could also be noun-noun (the crow belongs to the fool(s)).
More examples: I briefly stumped my kids recently when I said that I appreciated their presence. They weren't sure if I meant the fact that they were there, or the gifts that they had given me.
And from Wikipedia:
- Teenagers shouldn't be allowed to drive. It's getting too dangerous on the streets. (Are the teenagers the threat or the threatened?)
- I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know. (Groucho Marx)
- At a used-car lot: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
At our drugstore, we dispense with accuracy!
- Eat our curry, you won't get better!
- Professor to student, on receiving a fifty-page term paper: I shall waste no time reading it. (Often attributed to Disraeli)
- No food is better than our food.
- Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
At least now I know a new way to describe what I do as an editor: I eliminate amphibolies.