“on the other hand of the spectrum…”

I suddenly imagine our old friend Roy G. Biv, arms spread wide, enormous clown gloves on both hands.

We see here two expressions on a collision course: “on the other end of the spectrum,” perhaps, and “on the other hand.” How and why did they collide?

“On the other hand” supposes two distinct alternatives (perhaps for Lord Ganesha there would be four, but clearly four separate options); a “spectrum” is a subtly gradated continuum between one extreme and another.

Did my student mean to write “on the other end of the spectrum” but type something like “other hnd” or “other ehd”—in other words, could the error be the fault of the wicked villain Autocorrect? Or did she write “on the other hand” and then think it seemed unfinished, adding “of the spectrum” to kind of round it out?

And, same old last question, did she proofread?

Some rain forecast for this weekend (at last). May you see rainbows. No hands.


About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

2 responses to ““on the other hand of the spectrum…”

  • Mary Jane Schaefer

    On the other hand of the speculum. At last, my arm is complete again.

  • whitt88

    Hi. Yes, we do proofread, but our thoughts are already elsewhere. How many times were we told that ‘planning before and checking after’ were of equal importance to content? Right again on auto-correct; I let it change afterworld to ‘after world.’ My oversight.

    Your posts are very helpful. Thanks.

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