Read white and blue

November 10, 2005

Whilst IMing a friend, I discovered a huge flaw with the English written language. Wanting to comment on a recent blog post of his, i told him, “I read your blog.” I realized that there were two different meanings for that sentence, usually clearly disambiguated in speech, but in the casual medium of typed communication, the pronunciation was lost, along with any useful meaning. The above statement can mean one of two things, based upon the two tenses of the word ”read” which share the same spelling:

  1. The past preterite tense: “I read (rěd) your blog” - I happened across your recent post, and am now commenting on it.

  2. The simple or repeated present tense: “I read (rēd) your blog” - I watch your blogspot, constantly hitting refresh, straining for some glimmer of information on your opinions, ideas and possibly what you had for lunch. Also, send me a lock of your hair.

The past tense of the verb “to read” is spelled the same as the present tense conjugation “read”. As demonstrated in my simple example above, this is a huge problem that affects IMmers around the world. Er, that speak English. What we need is swift, decisive action to end confusion of this matter once and for all. Luckily, decisive action is what I do best.

To eliminate this ghoti-esque confusion, we should simply change the conjugations of the verb “to read” to match the conjugations of the verb “to lead”. Hereforth I shall now conjugate the past tense of the verb as “red”. There is little chance of a conflict with the color “red” as one is a noun and one is a verb. Other than the slight problem of verbing, the plan is pretty much foolproof.

From tomorrow on out, if you see me online, tell me “I red your blog”. If you tell me “I read your blog”, I’ll have a restraining order on you so fast it will make your hed spin. For those of you keeping score at home, this means, of course, that Red is the new Schmool.


Written by Will who lives and works in New York. You should follow him on Twitter.