This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Nuts and Bolts: dittography.

The computer program WORD is rather good. Its grammar is a bit dodgy, sometimes, and its spelling is sadly inflexible, and it suffers rather from Thinking It Knows Best. But then who doesn't? 

(I hate to admit it, but very often WORD does know best.)

The program is over-keen, however, on the concept of dittography.

Dittography is the unintentional repetition of letters or words in a piece of writing. What WORD doesn't understand is that sometimes this repetition is intentional.

I shall now proceed to upset the poor thing.

The ice cream's edges of delicate, delicate ice crystals were deliquescing into tiny spheres of glossy cream in the sun. So what did I do, do you think? Did I take it over to where the mayor was waiting at his table? No, I licked it with a questing, joyful tongue: deeeelicious! Yum yum!

Having said all this, the word dittography usually describes that sort of mistake in very early manuscripts of the Bible.

Still, this doesn't make teasing WORD any less fun.

Did you hear the story about the sign painter who made the gaps too large between the words on the pub sign for the PIG AND WHISTLE?

The landlord was quite cross. 

'That's no good,' he said. 'You've left too much space between PIG and AND and AND and WHISTLE!' 

Word To Use Today: dittography. The word ditto comes from the Tuscan word detto, which means said, from the Latin dicere to say. The Greek word graphein means to write.

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