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Blurbs as entities fall midway between snippets and larger wholes like articles or books. But a blurb as such is a semi-independent unit of cognitively structured information, often textual. It develops and perhaps applies an idea.

A blurb is like a “snippet” in being small compared to “a whole work.” But while a blurb may, can, and might be included as a constituent in another post somewhere, a snippet must be; a snippet has inherent reference to the larger whole from which it was snipped, like a puzzle piece does. Many orphan blurbs, on the other hand, never find such a home, and in fact do just fine on their own. [caption id="attachment_5319" align="alignright" width="150"]The pilcrow is The word ‘pilcrow’ – for “the paragraph symbol” – comes through Old French, then Middle English, from the Greek paragraphos (para, “beside” and graphein, “to write”). (See more at Smithsonian Mag.)[/caption]Blurbs range in length. A blurb on the small side must – as I conceptualize it – still be more than a word. A blurb says something, even if aphoristically, suggestively, metaphorically – it makes some graspable predication (which usually requires at least two words, such as “politics dirties”). But this is still not enough cognitive structure for blurbhood, in my assessment. If it’s going to earn its keep as a concept, it has to do something other than what the concept of a sentence already does. More than mere a predication, a blurb develops a thought.

On the larger side, a blurb may run more than a few substantive paragraphs. But most blurbs are about paragraph size. It’s the “substantive” that matters: A blurb contains some conceptual activity – whether analysis, synthesis, hypothesis, analogizing, connecting metaphors, or assessment and evaluation.

Here’s a mini-blurb about blurbs: [caption id="attachment_5321" align="alignright" width="150"]Heap of leaves How many leaves make a heap? [/caption]

The blurb is in the domain of the conceptual what the heap is in the domain of material: both are more than atoms and less than mountains, and while it might be impossible to say when some debris or conceptual dribble becomes a heap or a blurb, both are nevertheless forces to be reckoned with.

Even metaphysicians who don’t believe in heaps swerve when they see them in the road!