Something that I've been noticing more and more frequently is that sometimes writers will say something and then say (read: something else). For example (made up sentence to the best of my knowledge):

Jane Foster was upset that Thor didn't try to stop the men who borrowed (read: stole) her high-tech equipment.

A basic Google search did not turn up any relevant examples from before computers, but I was wondering when this practice originated. Also, why wouldn't you just say what's in the parenthesis instead? (Not sure if that should be a separate question).

  • At least I have a name for it now: parenthetical read. english.stackexchange.com/questions/321846/… – jinkevin Feb 12 '19 at 4:01
  • The writer is indicating to the reader that they should understand a word used by someone as really meaning something stronger. In your example, Thor may have tactfully described the equipment as having been 'borrowed', but Jane suspects it is gone for good. I don't know when the practice originated, but it's a well-established device. – Kate Bunting Feb 12 '19 at 10:33

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