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There's no such rules in dictionaries, but when someone uses "it reads: xxx", it's usually something short, for instance a sign, a tooltip, or a notice.

Can I use it to introduce longer text? For instance, when I'm discussing some documents with a coworker over the phone, I'm tempted to say:

Page 42 reads: (blah blah)

The last 2 paragraphs read: (blah blah)

If I shouldn't say "it reads" here, what should I say instead?

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    Why not? One of Oxford's definitions of read is "(of a passage, text, or sign) have a certain wording" (my italics). Commented May 8, 2023 at 18:33
  • @TaliesinMerlin thanks, I don't think so, edited my question to mention tooltip.
    – ZYinMD
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 18:57

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