Learn English – grammatical rule for using “read” between parentheses?


As an example:

I am bored (read: lazy).

I wish to know if English Grammar has a formal construct for this usage.

Best Answer

Looking for occurrences of (read in the Corpus of Contemporary American English, I find among the 33 first hits:

  • 18 are of the form: “she promised her supporters (read: voters)
  • 5 are of the form: “she promised her supporters (read voters)
  • 10 are unrelated to your question, like “(read more in…)

These shows two things: there are two alternatives, and while the use of a colon after reading is preferred, it is not a hard and fast rule. Also, when the colon is omitted, italicisation may be used for clarification of the intent, as in: “she promised her supporters (read voters)”; unfortunately, this is not reflected in the statistics given above.

Personally, I prefer using the colon, as I find it more readable.

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