How to grasp the Meaning of Printed Page: Study the selection to know its Thought-Groups (5)

In grasping the meaning of printed page, another important step the reader must take is in the direction of determining it thought-groups which are the souls of the printed page.

This is a primer, let me quickly do this to illustrate the important natures of the printed page.

In a way, just as cells are the building blocks of life; so are words and punctuation marks the building blocks of the printed page.

Without them, the printed page automatically becomes a wreck.

And like human beings who are gregarious by nature; words, too, do keep their own company to make the most meaning in the minds of the readers as well as the listeners.

We must bear it in mind that, no single-word, no matter it's class or importance or how perfectly stressed can bring out all the meaning in a selection until seen to harmoniously relates or co-operates with others.

It is then pertinent to ask at this juncture what thought-groups are.

By thought-groups, we mean the interconnected units of opinions, convictions, and sentiments the author is trying to convey.

Anybody who reads, therefore, must have this precisely in mind and nothing else.

He cannot avoid it unless he’s just fooling around with a printed copy.

The reader of printed page utters the author’s ideas in phrases, clauses, and sentences.

This natural process of uttering ideas, opinions, and convictions of the author is called words clustering or grouping.

As a consequence, however, any interpreter who does not commit himself to this sufficiently will badly falter and utterly fails to impress himself and his hearers.

Imagine for a second the sight of a student who comes to class to deliver a speech totally unarmed with this key knowledge.

All he does while standing before the other students who are eagerly awaiting a great performance is to utter the words like water gushing out from a broken tap.

And he’s hurried off the stage and a replacement sort who can do better.

Take a look at the extract below taken from ‘A Stoic America’ after it has been stripped of important structural elements.

 “America is still sound healthy courageous inventive vibrant our economic system has created five times more wealth and has distributed it more widely than any other system in history and our democracy with all its faults has come through a world war and a world depression with all its colors flying and all our civil liberties intact we have realized a generous measure of America’s purpose a miraculous measure for this century”

 By Will Durrant.

This passage clearly underscores the importance of pauses in grasping the meaning of the printed page.

What are pauses?

Pauses are the structured breaks occurring intermittently in sentences according to specific grammatical laws.

They’re brought about by the expert use of punctuation marks which help to bring order to writings and by extension their expressions.

The comma is not as strong as the semicolon.

The semicolon also is not as strong as the full colon.

And the full colon is not as strong as the full stop.

While these are the basics, it doesn’t end there.

There’re others too like the question, exclamation, and quotation marks which also help to bring sharply into focus other thought-groups in a selection.

The bottom line is that each must be brought to bear on written pieces and appropriately minded by the reader if the various thought-groups are to be completely grasped.    

Here is the same passage after all the punctuation marks have been restored.

“America is still sound healthy, courageous, inventive, vibrant, our economic system has created five times more wealth, and has distributed it more widely, than any other system in history; and our democracy, with all its faults, has come through a world war and a world depression with all its colors flying, and all our civil liberties intact.
We have realized a generous measure of America’s purpose, a miraculous measure for this century.”

By Will Durrant.
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Deji Olaluwe
Abuja, FCT, North Central,, Nigeria
Deji Olaluwe is a writer, poet, and blogger. He's the brain behind this blog. Some of his hobbies are travelling, listening to good music (especially Afro-centric genres), and meeting people.