I was reading Pillars of the Earth last night (and I’m NOT FINISHED so no spoilers please!) I reached the bottom of one of the pages and noticed it cut off mid-sentence; the rest of the phrase would be on the next page. I caught myself guessing which word would complete the sentence. It so happens that when I turned the page, I was right!
What does it mean? Absolutely nothing! But it’s a fun little game to see if you’re on the same wavelength as the author. By guessing the next word, you’re putting on your writer-hat and interacting with the book and its language.
Maybe you can see right away why the author went with that particular word choice; it might have been used for brevity’s sake, or because it was the most descriptive. Maybe it’s a signature word the author uses frequently (Ayn “Sanction” Rand, I’m looking at you).
If you guessed a different word, does your word substantially change the meaning of the original phrase? Or are they synonymous? Do you like yours better?
Try it! I’d love to know how it goes.