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There are several circumstances when the sentence's intended meaning becomes clearer. First, when it's understood that it uses the city of Buffalo, New York and the somewhat-uncommon verb "to buffalo" (meaning "to outwit, confuse, deceive, or intimidate"). Second, when the punctuation and grammar is expanded so that the sentence reads as follows: "Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo." Third, when synonyms are used: "Buffalo-origin bison that other Buffalo bison intimidate, themselves intimidate Buffalo bison." Fourth and finally, when compared to an alternative example that uses the same structure, such as "Intrusive laws crooked politicians write trample unalienable rights."

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Taken on December 20, 2010