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    #1

    'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    A book editor changed the heading ‘Skimming for the gist’ to ‘Skimming for gist’ in reviewing my book draft. I looked up "gist" in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (8th edition) and found the following information:
    (usually the gist) [singular]~ (of sth)
    the main or general meaning of a piece of writing, a speech or a conversation
    ▶to get (= understand) the gist of an argument
    ▶I missed the beginning of the lecture—can you give me the gist of what he said?
    ▶I'm afraid I don't quite follow your gist (= what you really mean).
    Students are taught the skills of reading and listening for gist.
    Can anyone explain why only in "read/listen for gist" the article is unacceptable?

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    They are not unacceptable, in my opinion. The last example from the OALD appears to confirm my belief.

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    #3

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    They are not unacceptable, in my opinion. The last example from the OALD appears to confirm my belief.
    But in the last example from OALD, the article does not appear even though the dictionary's grammar label says 'gist' usually co-occurs with 'the'. How does that confirm your belief? besides, how do you explain my book editor's revision?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    I would simply think that an article is needed in 'the gist of something' but not in 'for gist', but I am not a teacher.
    In my humble opinion, no particular gist is mentioned in 'skimming/reading/listening for gist', so 'the' is not needed.
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 05-Aug-2015 at 14:27.

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    #5

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I would simply think that an article is needed in 'the gist of something' but not in 'for gist', but I am not a teacher.
    In my humble opinion, no particular gist is mentioned in 'skimming/reading/listening for gist', so 'the' is not needed.
    seems to be the best explanation. thanks. (the 'thank' button does not work today.)

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    You might have seen the phrase 'reading for meaning', where 'the' is not needed either for the same reason mentioned in my post above.

    Not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    You might have seen the phrase 'reading for meaning', where 'the' is not needed either for the same reason mentioned in my post above.

    Not a teacher.
    Yes, it's a reasonable explanation. Possibly because it's a heading. Thank you. (I mean the 'thank' button doesn't work for me today. Usually it does.)

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    I don't think reading for meaning and skimming for the gist are comparable nouns. Meaning can be spoken of without the article, like time or faith. The gist is a general and quick understanding, a brief summary if you like. I would not use it without the article.

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    #9

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    I would only use it with "the," but the editor may have been simplifying because it is a heading.

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    #10

    Re: 'read for gist' or 'read for the gist'?

    I think, for me, it us a combined problem of not using "the" with "gist, in the second version, but also that both of them end with the word "gist". I don't think I ever end a phrase, or sentence, with that word.

    "I'm speed-reading to get the gist of it".
    "Whatever he does, he can't seem to get the gist of it".
    "That was the gist of what was said".
    "Can you give me the gist of that article".

    It may be grammatically correct not to use "the", and say "I'm speed-reading for gist", but it doesn't sound, or feel, at all natural to me.

    For these reasons, both versions of the headings don't actually work for me, as each seems to be incomplete in some way.

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