You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
Someone is sending students my way

I am gaining a batch of Twitter followers from a particular university. I think someone on the faculty (and I think who) must be steering them my way. This is dangerous.

One of the 700+plus students who have taken my editing class at Loyola University Maryland presented this succinct evaluation: “You will learn a lot, but might not like it.”

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In a word: surreptitious

Each week The Sun’s John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

SURREPTITIOUS

Not all things are done in the open. Some things are done by stealth, secretly, clandestinely, without authorization, because they would not be approved of.

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Richard Wilbur has died

The most urbane and wittiest of American poets, Richard Wilbur, died yesterday at ninety-six.

I heard him read his poems once at Michigan State all those years ago, and I quoted his comic patter song for Pangloss from Candide just the other day.

He was learned, and he wore his learning lightly. His translations were admirable: Villon’s “But where shall last year’s snow be found?”

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The AP Stylebook is not uniformly crackpot

Pam Robinson, my old comrade-in-arms from the earliest days of the American Copy Editors Society, asked a while back whether I ignore or flout all AP style rules, and I said, “Only the dumbest ones.” That was flippant; Pam, and you, deserve a more thoughtful approach to dealing with style guides.

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In a word: caryatid

Each week The Sun’s John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:

CARYATID

After a month of distractions, I am back with a word of the week for you, this one from architecture.

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Not all the little things are of equal value

Yesterday, a reader commented on Facebook about my rant over the Associated Press Stylebook’s bogus rule on collide: “Seems like an odd issue to waste time fussing over, given the state of...everything.”

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