How often, you wonder, has the direction of your life been shaped by such misunderstandings? How many opportunities have you been denied--or, for that matter, awarded--because someone failed to see you properly? How many friends have you lost, how many have you gained, because they glimpsed some element of your personality that shone through for only an instant, and in circumstances you could never reproduce? An illusion of water shimmering at the far bend of a highway.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,' I said, sighing.'Is it?' said Veronica, looking surprised. 'Universally acknowledged? Surely that presupposes life similar to human societies beyond this planet, and besides--''No, no, it's a quote from ... Never mind,' I said.
In a language as idiomatically stressed as English, opportunities for misreadings are bound to arise. By a mere backward movement of stress, a verb can become a noun, an act a thing. To refuse, to insist on saying no to what you believe is wrong, becomes at a stroke refuse, an insurmountable pile of garbage.