Write and Rewrite: When the Butter Slipped off the Noodle

Writers will tell you there’s no such thing as finished copy.

That’s the result of two things: the internal editorial voices telling them to write with laser precision and the after-the-fact changes that come when revisiting a piece.

I get asked, “Are you done writing?” a lot.

The answer is usually, “No.”

Rarely am I satisfied. Sometimes I’ve spent too much time writing a piece, staring at the screen, or cutting and pasting fragments until the sentences no longer make sense. Everything looks right even though there are errors in syntax or grammar.

It’s like a bowl of fresh, hot, egg noodles stacked high with a cool pat of butter placed firmly in the center. At first, it seems perfect.

You use a fork to sample a bite, but the displacement of a single noodle in combination with the heat causes the pat to slide haphazardly from the top center of the pile away from the fork. It is then that you wonder whether to stir the noodles to distribute the melting butter evenly, or let it remain to drown one area.

noodles with butter the little kitchen dot net
Photo Courtesy: thelittlekitchen.net

That’s when a question hits the writer. “Is it ‘pat of butter’ or ‘pad of butter’?” A Google search reveals the answer.

“A pat is a small, square, flat portion. By comparison, a pad is thin and flat. So, it is not surprising that one might mistakenly think the expression is ‘pad of butter’.”

However the source, Eggcorn Forum contains an 8-year-old post directly under an explanation about how the site was closed due to spamming and the need to now prove oneself as a human in order to post, et cetera. So the writer wonders whether the source comes from some yahooligan claiming to be an expert on little squares of butter, or a restaurateur or chef who lacks hours to address spammers and their ilk.

A quest to ensure the veracity of “pat” versus “pad” continues, a metaphorical representative for what has just happened to the writer. And, did the butter slip “off the noodle” or “from the noodle”?





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