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  1. #1
    dotancohen is offline Newbie
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    Default Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    From this trustworthy source:
    Perusal | Define Perusal at Dictionary.com

    I find these contradictory definitions:
    1. to read or examine with care; study 2. to browse or read through in a leisurely way
    I take this to mean that a "perusal" can be either a quick skip-the-details read, or a deep go-over-everything read. Am I mistaken? Often context is not enough to deduce the proper meaning for this word, so how can one know exactly which meaning is being referred to?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    You're right, there are 2 competing usages out there. Literally, it means to examine with care, as "per-" means "super" and "hyper" or extremely detailed use; but I've heard lots of people use it in a leisurely sense; hopefully they also mean browsing at length, because there has to be a sense of quantity in the word at least.

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Have a look at what AHD has to say: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peruse

  4. #4
    dotancohen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Thanks, Birdeen, I had perused that page.

    (should "had" not have been in that sentence?)

  5. #5
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen View Post
    Thanks, Birdeen, I had perused that page.

    (should "had" not have been in that sentence?)
    You're welcome.

    It depends on whether you had perused the page before my telling you about it or you perused it after that. Please wait for another person's opinion though. I have a feeling I might be missing something.

  6. #6
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    It depends on whether you had perused the page before my telling you about it or you perused it after that. Please wait for another person's opinion though. I have a feeling I might be missing something.
    Not that I can see.

    You are right about dotancohen's sentence, in my opinion.

    In your response, the past perfect that I have underlined could also be a past simple. As I have said in other threads, we are not as particular about the past perfect as some books would have us be. The word 'before' makes the sequence of events clear; in such cases we don't always bother with the past perfect.

  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Not that I can see.

    You are right about dotancohen's sentence, in my opinion.

    In your response, the past perfect that I have underlined could also be a past simple. As I have said in other threads, we are not as particular about the past perfect as some books would have us be. The word 'before' makes the sequence of events clear; in such cases we don't always bother with the past perfect.
    But it's fine to use it, right? I wanted to use it, because I was too lazy to write a longer post and I thought that just replacing the past perfect with the simple past would make my post less clear. I wanted the parts of my sentence to be in the tense they referred to.

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Perusal: two contradictory meanins?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    But it's fine to use it, right?
    Yes; indeed, some books give the impression that only the past perfect is correct.
    I wanted to use it, because I was too lazy to write a longer post and I thought that just replacing the past perfect with the simple past would make my post less clear.
    A good idea.
    I wanted the parts of my sentence to be in the tense they referred to.
    I would not normally have added my post to yours - which was clear, and correct, in my opinion. I did so only because you said that you thought you might be missing something.
    Last edited by 5jj; 19-May-2011 at 09:21.

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