Words I Don’t Know

Why no!, not, in fact, a blank page, but rather a continuation of the theme of what I don’t know about English (though you can expect this to be a very short series of articles). Today I want to have a look at the last book I’ve read: Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. Like most books I read, it was a second-hand copy from my favourite bookshop, and one of the previous owners had underlined a lot of words. I didn’t think too much of this at first: there are often handwritten notes and underlined sections in second-hand books. That’s part of the appeal of second-hand books: the feeling that they’ve already had a full life (it must have been some journey to get from S&S Books in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway, Ireland), and the knowledge that someone else got to appreciate them. This case was slightly different though, because there were just individual words underlined, and no notes in the margins. I soon realised that these words were underlined because the previous reader hadn’t understood them. How did I come to realise this? Because I didn’t know most of them either.

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It Started with a “This”

This evening, while cycling home from work, a thought occurred to me. A slightly panicked thought. I recalled that in my post yesterday I’d linked to an article, and I thought…

 Did I include the link!? (Clearly my cycling thoughts aren’t as interesting as my running thoughts. I suppose I’m too focussed on the road)

You see, rather than write my post directly on my blog, as I usually do, yesterday I’d written it as a word document, as I wasn’t online at the time, and then copied it onto the blog later. And then of course I included all the links. Or did I? Because it would be very easy to forget to (spoiler alert: I didn’t). Before I got home and put my mind at ease, I felt a little annoyed. If I had forgotten it, how stupid would that look? It would be so obvious I’d forgotten the link, and it would be unfortunate for anyone reading it, as they’d miss out on what was a very interesting article. But then, another thought occurred to me: would that actually be so bad?

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