I know the meanings of the words specially, commission and content separately but I don't understand the phrase totally. So, could you please explain it to me?

The fuller text is here:

This book is based on articles previously published in New Scientist together with specially commissioned content.


It is basically saying that the book is made up of different articles (possibly written by different people).

Some of those articles (that will be published in this book) were previously published in the New Scientist (which could be a book, magazine, journal, or newspaper).

In addition to those, the book has arranged to include some special articles (content). Now these are special ones, so the book publisher has commissioned the preparation and delivery of these articles.

From Cambridge, to commission is to request work:

to formally choose someone to do a special piece of work, or to formally ask for a special piece of work from someone; a request to do a special piece of work

This means that the book publisher has made special requests for the preparation of some special content from a number of eligible and highly qualified people. The publisher would be paying these content-creators or writers/authors for their special work.


The phrase has no meaning on its own, but in the context of the entire sentence you provide, one can break down the meaning.

Content: In the context of a book, content is the written words, and possibly illustrations, that make up the book. The sentence is telling us the content of this book comes from multiple sources, and among these are "articles previously published in "New Scientist" and other sources which are "specially commissioned."

Commissioned: This suggests that the publishers of this book hired persons to produce content for the book. This could be authors, illustrators, researchers, and so on, who were paid to work on the book, but were not otherwise employed by the publishers, thus "on commission."

Specially: Together with the prior explanations, this implies that the "commissioned content" was exclusive to this book, for the purpose of creating this book, and for no other reason.

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