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Nov 09

What’s the deal with highlighters?

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I hope you read the title with a Seinfeld voice. The last three flights that I have been on had one thing in common (apart from the pretzels):

People using highlighters on books / papers

I have never quite understood the desire to highlight as I have seen it in the US. I remember first watching this act at Uni here in the states. The practice looked the same for all three people on the flights:

  • Get your highlighter ready
  • Whiz through the current page as fast as possible highlighting sentences
  • Turn the page and go again

The strange thing here is that the people never seem to really be reading the darn thing. They are going at record speed. The other puzzling thought is that on average it appeared that two thirds of the page was yellow before it was all said and done.

Yes, MORE CONTENT was highlighted on the page than not! It’s crazy.

I could totally understand it if the process was:

  • Actually read the page
  • If there is a true gem, maybe one sentence per page, max: highlight it (or write in the margin something deep)
  • When you are done, go back and read the margins/highlights

Oh, and I know that you have been given a hand-me-down which is more yellow than not. How annoying is that :)

One Response to “What’s the deal with highlighters?”

  1. Nick Sieger Says:

    It may seem extremely unsightly to you, and for all I know it’s only bad/lazy practice on the part of all the folks you observed, but I’ll note for the record anyway that dyslexics sometimes will use highlighters as a tool to help them read.

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