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As an example:

I am bored (read: lazy).

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

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closed as not a real question by RegDwigнt Oct 19 '12 at 9:48

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Dear @decaf, welcome to English Language & Usage. This is a nice first question. Please be reminded that you can comment further here (below this comment) if you want to discuss the answers given below. You can also mark one of the answers as “accepted”, meaning that it was the most helpful to you. –  F'x Feb 25 '11 at 11:31
This placement of a word is in parentheses. If you write (A) B (C), B is between parentheses. –  SF. Oct 19 '12 at 10:48

3 Answers 3

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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Don't you mean "more read:able"? ;-) –  Hellion Feb 24 '11 at 22:09
As an alternative, you could italicise or use quotation marks. But the colon is indeed attractive. –  Cerberus Feb 24 '11 at 23:34
I would actually put a comma instead of a colon. Any thoughts on that? (Yes, this is technically a new question but think it’s covered by this one.) –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 3 '11 at 13:40

Actually, the use of "read" here is fairly informal and chatty. For a more polished effect, prefer "id est" or "i.e.," viz:

I am bored, i.e., lazy.

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I agree that this expression has a more "informal and chatty" nature; I would choose it over "i.e.," for example, as a conspiratorial aside to the reader, e.g. poking fun at doublespeak: "enhanced interrogation(read: torture)", implying "we all know what they really mean when they say that!" It's also handy to know that italicization may be used in this intent-clarifying context rather than a colon.

Also, it seems that it's possible to have your cake and eat it too; i.e., retain the sardonic connotation of the aside while achieving a "more polished effect": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scilicet — "...scilicet, abbreviated as sc. ...is Latin for 'it is permitted to know'. Sc. provides a parenthetic clarification, removes an ambiguity, or supplies a word omitted in preceding text..."

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