I was learning some essay techniques and noticed the expression:

the subtle but pervasive message is that...

What does this exactly mean?

  • Questions of this kind are not accepted here, not unless you explain why you are still confused about the meaning after having looked the words up in a couple of good dictionaries. We're happy to help clarify, but this site is not a substitute for dictionaries. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 20 '18 at 11:49
  • I agree with @Tᴚoɯɐuo – This question would be much-improved if there were more details, such as what research you've done, what you learned, and where you found the quote, in case anyone wants more context. – J.R. Aug 20 '18 at 13:52
  • I disagree—especially on this site where people are learning how to use English. Even knowing the meanings of the words themselves, I would still have a problem understanding the phrase as a whole. (If I weren't exposed to it.) The answer given does a great job of explaining it. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Aug 20 '18 at 14:03
  • 1
    @JasonB - I'm not saying we can't cut a learner some slack. But, at the very least, an OP could say, "I looked up pervasive in the dictionary, but the definition there (manifested throughout; pervading, permeating, penetrating or affecting everything) only confused me more." At least then everyone would know that an earnest attempt was made, and might have a better idea of where the confusion lies. – J.R. Aug 20 '18 at 19:37

It means the text convincing you of something you don't even know you are being convinced of.

Here is an example from a campaign I am involved with, trying to remove the constant messages sent to kids.

2 of these t-shirts are from the girls section and 2 from the boys section, can you tell which? of course you can, and the kids reading these t-shirts understand the message they are constantly being given from clothes, toys, television, adverts the whole of society.

what is the message

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