Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

The problem with reading text online is that many words have different meanings, depending on their pronunciation. Often, I find myself heartily confused because my brain has chosen the wrong internal pronunciation, thereby muddling an entire sentence. Of course, this can also be quite amusing.

For instance, when I saw this headline:

Live at the Barnes & Noble Nook Event

I read it as:

Of course, it’s not possible to live at a Barnes & Noble event1. The headline in this case was actually for a post providing live news, as it happened, from a Barnes and Noble event.

I was also recently fooled when it came to local news:

Reading Routs Cambridge

I imagined a story about the popularity of leisure reading being on the rise in my hometown. Instead, it was a summary of the Reading (that’s ‘red-ing’) High School football team’s drubbing of Cambridge, 50-12.

Of course, on the web, it’s not just word pronunciation that’s a problem. A complete disregard for the rules of spelling and punctuation can cause difficult in understanding. To wit:

This comes from a now-deleted tweet spotted a couple months ago which featured the text “Get your cock sucked like this baby”, followed by an inappropriate video link. I burst out laughing when I read this because it was so badly in need of a comma. Unfortunately, I never snagged a screenshot of it, but it’s still found in Google’s cache when searching for that awful phrase2.


  1. By subsisting on Starbucks coffee and muffins, and hiding out in the rarely-visited New Age & Spirituality section, one may however be able to live at an actual Barnes & Noble store. ↩︎

  2. Incidentally, prior to posting this feature, the phrase “get your cock sucked like this baby” returns just one hit. Thank god for that. ↩︎

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