“The 1920s was a great time for reading altogether—very possibly the peak decade for reading in American life. Soon it would be overtaken by the passive distractions of radio, but for the moment reading remained most people’s principal method for filling idle time.”
― Bill Bryson, One Summer: America, 1927
The first sentence makes me uncomfortable. Can't put a finger on it, but I would have found a different way to say it.
'Altogether' seems like pointless fill.
Unless he meant:
“The 1920s was a great time for reading in the altogether"
I agree with you on at least two levels. Wording is awkward and there's an explicit value judgement that Bryson can't affirm with any certainty; 'very possibly'? Don't try that on A2K, Bill
Bravo. I'm amazed that one of my authors didn't come up with that. And a little envious.
I just encountered, "People are human."
Thud and a half.
Isn't there a famous book titled "fish is fish?"
Editing my own ms yesterday, I came across a single word that rightfully could be listed here. Today, I can't remember the word. Here's hoping there are no undetected ones in there.
Checking through my current project for cohesiveness and obvious mistakes, I found I had somehow written "tomb" when it was my intent to write "tome."
Oopsie. The worst are the word substitutions. You have to really look closely to catch those.
Yes. The spellcheck doesn't catch any of those.
I had goose pimps all over my body.
Don't knock it if you haven't tried it!
Having worked at two universities, and as both a free-lance and a full-time business manager, I have seen, time and again, how difficult proof-reading is. One of the problems is that our brains will automatically correct the error as we scan a text. Shadow talking--when someone repeats what someone else is saying almost, but not quite instantly--sees the same phenomenon. The shadow talker will not only repeat what she hears, but will correct it as she goes along.
I've seen cases in which several secretaries, instructors and professors will proof-read a document, and pass it as correct. But the smart thing to do, is to take it someone else, somewhere else, especially if the document is outside their field of expertise. They will quickly find errors that everyone else has missed to that point.
Proof-reading is really an art form.
Having worked with a pro editor twice now (
) - oh yeah - there is a real difference when someone looks at an MS with a fresh perspective.
A radio ad I heard: "Test drive a Cadillac for your penultimate driving experience." I'd be afraid to get in another car after that.
OK, that was funny, coluber..
Using voice-typing on your cell phone is always risky. You have to carefully edit your text, because errors can be egregious and embarrassing. Not to mention that the errors may have been so great that you forget what you originally said.
In the novel How Green Was My Valley, the boy, Huw, is reading from Shakespeare, and encounters the word misled. He pronounces it "mizzled," and is ridiculed by the teacher. He replies that he can't be faulted for having read more words than he has ever heard spoken.
The problem in our age is that so many people have literacy problems. It's not that they are illiterate, they just aren't well-read. Paean already means praise, so even had it been properly spelled, the phrase would be redundant. One man on-line whose post I read recently wrote about the past tents. He repeated it, too. Although the post was good as to content, seeing that was so jarring. He obviously thought that was the correct word to have used. In another post, a woman wrote: ". . . for all intense and purposes." These people have heard more words spoken than they have ever read.
Electronic devices are even worse. I would not use a spell-check program which automatically corrects what I write. We're off the map now. Here be monsters.
When typing I always mistype words. Not the occasional word, but whole gangs of them. Before I save a document for the next time, I read over all of the work of the day, finding whole words left out and crazy misspellings. If I let it go overnight, I often have to figure out what I was trying to say.
For one thing, 1920s is plural: ". . . 1920's were
. . . " I am greatly unimpressed by anything I've read by Mr. Bryson. (He might have written: "The decade of the 1920s was . . . "
A man I knew picked up on the word, "precludes." He tried to work it into every conversation. The problem was, he used it for a synonym of "includes." I hoped he would catch on without help, but finally had to tell him.