I read this in "Word by Word" by Kory Samper:

You toil onward with steady plodding, losing yourself to everything but the goal of capturing and documenting this language. Up is down, bad is good and the smallest words will be your downfall. You'd rather do nothing else.

What is the last highlighted part supposed to mean? Is there any pun intended? And shouldn't there be "anything" instead of "nothing" which would imply that you are so tired of the work that you'd anything except that?

  • I read it as meaning "There is nothing else that you would rather do", or "there isn't anything else that you'd rather do" - the converse of your interpretation. – Colin Fine Jul 3 '19 at 9:58
  • I do wonder if there's a slight sarcasm here. The preceding Up is down, bad is good might also suggest that You'd rather do nothing else is actually quite the reverse. I don't think that's the case with this snippet on its own, and having a look at the synopsis, it indicates a fervour of discovering language so perhaps not. – Smock Jul 3 '19 at 10:24


"You'd rather do nothing else" means that there is nothing you would want to do more than this. That is to say, this is the only thing you want to do, or it is your favorite thing to do.

Now, if you said "you'd rather do anything else", that would be like saying "anything but this", which is the exact opposite.

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