Is This Just Me?

So I have this little thing I do, and I’ve often wondered if it’s just me, but before I get to it, I’d better give the background.
(FYI: If you’re a speech therapist, please read this and tell me if you have any insight into this odd problem.)
Back when my son was little, I read him this book over and over—as usually happens with children. Thomas and the Big Big Bridge. One time I was reading the story to him, I realized there’s this line where I transposed one word. I didn’t skip it, but I moved it to another place in the sentence.
The next time I’m reading, I noticed I did the same thing again. And it happens again and again. Almost every time I read that sentence, I automatically moved that word.
Since I was reading aloud a lot, I noticed I did this in other books too. It’s like I move a word to another spot, where obviously it sounds/flows better. While I’m reading, I’m completely conscious of the fact I move words, but I’m not moving them on purpose. It just comes out of my mouth that way. (This might happen once per book on average.)

Image courtesy of Master isolated /

What is wrong with my brain? Is this why I hated reading aloud in high school? Do I have some weird dyslexic-type thing where people do this? Am I the only one?
Now I know I’m not really dyslexic cause I’ve always been a good reader/writer, and I loved English classes and generally did well in school.
And now that I’ve become a writer and have found I love critiquing, I’m starting to wonder if my brain is so smart and advanced that it’s automatically editing the text before it passes them along to my mouth. I mean, that makes perfect sense, right?
No, but seriously, it’s the weirdest thing, and I have no clue why it happens? Do you ever do this?

8 Responses

  1. This is actually pretty common and happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s the physical placement of the word on the page and the typography that causes your eye/brain to move the word mentally. Sometimes it’s a regional issue that makes you automatically move the word to another spot because of speech habits and preference and/or ease of dialect. By which I mean, what sounds “right” to you will stem from where you live and how you speak, so you will naturally reword to suit.

  2. Rachel Schieffelbein

    How interesting. I do this, too, and thanks to your other commenter, now I know why. 🙂 Our brains are funny things, aren’t they?

  3. Oh, I didn’t like reading out loud in school either. Haha.

    I haven’t noticed that I do this, but you are a much better editor than I am…haha

  4. You are an excellent editor. 🙂 I do this, too, and sometimes even when I try to go back and read it right, I still move the word. I’ve always thought it was because I knew what was coming and so put the words where I thought they should go, and I guess I wasn’t far off, from M. Pepper Langlinais’s explanation!

  5. I totally do this, too. Glad to know I’m not the only one. M. Pepper Langlinai’s explanation made perfect sense. Guess there’s a lot to reading out loud that you don’t usually think about.

  6. Add me to the gang of secret word-movers (are we shakers, too? 🙂

    I always thought it was because I *liked* the word in the other order, but the explanation totally makes sense 🙂

  7. I wonder if it is connected to your sense of rhythm? I do that sometimes when I am reading–if i hit a clunky sentence where the rhythm is off, I’ve caught myself automatically adding or deleting words or syllables to fix what bothers my “ear.” In my case, it’s not necessarily that the sentence will make more sense the other way, it’s purely the sound of the words. 🙂

  8. My Life in Fargo

    Suzi, I do this too, but I think I do it only when I am reading books to the kids. Maybe I do it as I am reading Jane Austen, but I don’t catch myself at it!

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