What does "a" mean in "playing a in the dark" in the Twitter tweet quoted below? "'We all dance around in a ring and suppose but truth sits in the middle and knows" & ...life is playing a in the dark with NO referee pal...'" from Sly Stallone's Twitter at http://twitter.com/theslystallone . The first part is from a Robert Frost, but the second part by Stallone is confusing.

Expert Answers

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With regard to "tweets," as anyone can publish them, it's hard to get a good take on the content. It's nice that Robert Frost's poem, "A Secret Sits," is alluded to, short though it may be.

Stallone's line, "life is playing a in the dark with NO referee pal...", probably reflects nothing more than a typo. I have not seen slang used with "a." I have read some of Mr. Stallone's messages to get a sense of the kind of writer he is, and based on his style, I'm guessing it was an inadvertent slip.

Perhaps I assume too much, but if he "tweeting on the run," the way some of us text-message, that "a" may simply be slip of the...thumb, (rather than tongue).

Your question makes perfect sense, but I believe "a" is simply a mistake—though I wouldn't presume to tell you that I know for certain. Don't worry that it's "only" a tweet: the only "silly" question is one never asked. Above all, I hope this clarifies the text's content for you.

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