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  1. Newbie
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    read by/surprising

    (Text taken from Mass Effect in-game description)

    "During periods of increased solar flares, the auroras are bright enough to read by on the surface, ..."

    1. I checked the entry for "read" on Oxford online dictionary and I think the meaning of "read" here is "(of a device) obtain data from (light or other input)". But I'm confused by the "by" after it. Shouldn't one word "read" be suffice? Shouldn't it be like "read by scanners" or "read by computers" instead of simply "read by"?

    "A surprising variety of simple carbon-based life flourishes in a complex network of cave systems that wind through the crust, ..."

    2. What does "surprising" here do? It means we have more varieties (The number is so large that the author consider it surprising, like in "a large variety of"?) or each variety is itself surprising?

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: read by/surprising

    Read by: It doesn't mean "read the surface." That doesn't make sense. It's saying the flares are so bright you can read by them. You can read a book just by the light of the flares.

    Surprising: The variety is greater than the writer expected, so the writer was surprised.

    I hope that helps!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: read by/surprising

    A surprising piece of news for some youngsters is that I read by candlelight in the winter when I was a child.

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