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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Following Instructions

There will be a number of men, and some women, who will immediately recognise the work being done on this car:

To dismantle the brakes proceed as follows:

For front brakes, apply the hand brake, jack up the front of the car and remove the road wheel.
Take out the two brake drum retaining screws, back off the adjusters and remove the brake drums.
Mark the position of the pull off springs, and also mark the brake shoes to make sure they return to their correct positions.

Equally there will be a number of women, and some men, who will recognise these instructions:

Working from right to left, insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch.
Pull the yarn through first stitch.
Insert the needle into the first stitch on the top piece from front to back and second stitch from back to front.

In an English examination a child could be called up on to:

Write the actual words that Caspian said:

Caspian said that he could not pull his sweater over his head.

In all three examples of instruction there is lot left unsaid.

In the case of the car there is no mention of how to cope with nut that will not be moved.
Counting and recounting stitches takes concentration and effort.
To change reported speech to direct speech we need to think as much about a change of tense as the use of inverted commas.

Nothing is easy is it?

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