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Hi teachers


Again, the short essay below is from a book I read nowadays.


I understand what the writer tries to say but I do not know what the last paragraph exactly means. I have several questions regarding it. I hope you native speakers answer my questions.


First, I have no idea how a broken word processor and a manuscript are related. Does the word processor in this text mean a machine?

Second, The author says people repeat their commands. What commands does it mean?

Third, why do people attempt to change their manuscript?


" Something that happens right after an action appears to be caused by that actionTouch a computer terminal just when it fails, and you are apt to believe that you caused the failure, even though the failure and your action were related only by coincidence. Such false causality is the basis for much superstition.

Many of the peculiar behaviors of people using computer systems or complex household appliances result from such false coincidences.When an action has no apparent result, you may conclude that the action was ineffective. So you repeat it.

In earlier days, when computer word processors did not always show the results of their operations, people would sometimes attempt to change their manuscript, but the lack of visible effect from each action would make them think that their commands had not been executed, so they would repeat the commands."


As always, many thanks teachers.

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To me, the last paragraph seems slightly odd or confusing, in various ways.

Michelle ChaFirst, I have no idea how a broken word processor and a manuscript are related. Does the word processor in this text mean a machine?

A word processor is a type of computer that is used to create documents, or, more usually nowadays, computer software that allows one to create documents. I can only imagine that the "manuscript" is the document that one is typing on a word processor. If so, it seems an odd or misleading choice of word.

Michelle ChaSecond, The author says people repeat their commands. What commands does it mean?

Commands, entered via special keystrokes, to control aspects of the document such as layout or formatting.

Michelle ChaThird, why do people attempt to change their manuscript?

I think it is just referring to the normal editing process, whereby one makes changes to something that one has typed. This part is confusingly expressed. It reads as if people changing something in the document happened only "sometimes", whereas I think what it means is that people "sometimes" thought that they needed to repeat commands. I think!

Comments  
Michelle Chaa book I read nowadays

a book I am currently reading

Michelle ChaFirst, I have no idea how a broken word processor and a manuscript are related. Does the word processor in this text mean a machine?

A word processor is a category of computer program, software, like Microsoft Word, created for the purpose of composing and editing text. It is run on a machine, but the machine is a general-purpose computer, and we therefore do not call the machine a word processor.

Michelle ChaSecond, The author says people repeat their commands. What commands does it mean?

For example, when you hit the "delete" key on your computer keyboard, that sends a command to the word processor to remove a character where the cursor is.

Michelle ChaThird, why do people attempt to change their manuscript?

To correct errors like misspellings. To add text. To format the page for printing. Lots of reasons.

 GPY's reply was promoted to an answer.