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Don't Let This Stop You

George W. Brown, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(11):1125-1127. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170110011001.
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FRIENDS TELL me that they enjoy the stimulation and renewal that come with professional reading. Many also speak of odd chunks of writing that derail or interrupt that reading, perhaps causing the reader abruptly to abandon a passage that was otherwise engaging.

Familiar words cause minor shocks when they occur in unexpected forms: anaemia, coeliac, aetiology, oesophagus, and Esquimaux. I grew up in rural Arizona; we spoke of "dobie" walls, "dobie" houses, and "dobie" blocks. It came as a jolt when I first saw "dobie" spelled adobe.

Minor variations in spelling probably do not bother most readers, but there are terms in the professional literature that may be off-putting. The descriptions of numerical analyses in technical reports often contain verbal roadblocks that for some people some of the time, induce MEGO (my eyes glaze over). In almost any medical journal, examples abound.



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