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You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
GRAMMARNOIR 8: Stet My Lovely, Part 2

Part 2: Putsch comes to shove

Note: This is the second part of a four-part serial. One installment will be published each week, with the final episode appearing on March 4, National Grammar Day.

Last week’s installment: The troubled girlfriend

 

“Well, doll,” I told her, “you’d better take me to have a gander at your pal Guy Fawkes.”

“How’d you know his name was Guy?” “Skip it,” I said.

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LXV

Today is my sixty-fifth birthday. If my mother were still alive, I would have received a check in the mail for $65.65. (The last birthday check she sent me was for $50.50.) And she would have called at 7:30 a.m. to remind me what she had been doing at that hour sixty-five years previously.

To mark the day, at noon a man will smear dirt on my forehead and tell me that I am going to die.

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In a word: contumacious

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:

CONTUMACIOUS

The expression “stubborn as a hog on ice,” though vivid, is of unclear origin and varying interpretation, including independence and helplessness. Similarly, the Latinate contumacious (pronounced kahn-too-MAE-shus)

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Make ready for National Grammar Day

National Grammar Day, March 4, is a month away. To commemorate it appropriately, you may want to prepare yourself:

Item: Interest and expertise in, and commitment to, grammar and usage are not best displayed by behaving like a common scold.

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GRAMMARNOIR 8: Stet My Lovely, Part 1

Note: This is the first part of a four-part serial. One installment will be published each week, with the final episode appearing on March 4, National Grammar Day.

 

Part 1: The troubled girlfriend

I was sitting at my desk after the afternoon news meeting, waiting for the flow of blood to return to the brain.

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The Old Editor ponders regrets

Each week The Old Editor will attempt to address your entreaties for information and advice on grammar and usage, writing, writer-editor etiquette, and related subjects.

The Old Editor does not address marital and relationship matters, dietary questions, or automobile mechanics.

 

The question: “Why do editors use the word ‘regret’ when making a correction?

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