In a word: florilegium

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: 

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Joke of the week: "The thunderstorm"

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Prepare for battle, my cohorts

We have become depressingly familiar with the term birth cohort, as we assess the relative merits and demerits of the finally passing away baby boomers, along with Generation X and the millennials. (Good luck, kids, we've dealt you a dodgy hand.) 

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Really, so many are more interesting than I am

Let me direct you.

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Also, don't neglect to floss

James Harbeck, who sports in the sea of words at Sesquiotica as a dolphin leaps in the ocean, has given an interview to Grammarist. Among his remarks is this insight on the experience of those of us who blog about grammar and usage:

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In a word: doughty

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: 

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Joke of the week: "At the Pearly Gates"

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Arrrrr, not Arrrgh

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which requires this annual reminder:

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English is sitting up and taking nourishment

It is always a good day when Kory Stamper finds an occasion to post at harmless drudgery, and yesterday she had a go at N.M. Gwynne, M.A. (Oxon.). 

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Hey, AP Stylebook, I'll give you another chance

Let no one say that the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook are a pack of mossbacks. 

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Peeving not an entitlement

Rummaging online the other day, I came across a site of usage advice that said dogmatically that entitled is only legitimately used in the sense of "having a right to," not "having been given a title."*

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In a word: buncombe

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: 

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Joke of the week: "Appropriate Attire"

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The perspicacious Mr. Mencken

I neglected to offer you anything from H.L. Mencken yesterday on his birthday. So today, I will let you judge for yourselves how much this passage from "On Being an American" (1922) rings true today:

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You could have written shorter

For reporters, writing online must seem like admission to heaven. No space limits, no damn copy editor ruthlessly cutting forty lines of burnished prose to make it fit the page. Little interference from an editor, or even, bless us and save us, no editor at all. 

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Wait, wait, don't hang all the editors

Last month, as Gannett was being ridiculed for the fanciful job titles and descriptions it concocted for its "reinvented" and diminishing newsrooms, I joined in with some advice on how to proceed when you have been left hanging without adequate editing support. 

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The voice in your head when you read

When I was a graduate student, undergraduates who plagiarized often seemed surprised that they had been caught out. 

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In a word: celerity

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: 

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Broad stripes, bright stars

As we prepare for the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore next week, a decent respect for historical accuracy demands attention to a few details. 

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What to say to peevers

A recent article in the Boston Globe by Britt Peterson, "Why we love the language police," along with comments it has prompted on Facebook and other venues, shows that some people have become dangerously overstimulated by the publication of N.M. Gwynne's Gwynne's Grammar. 

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Mirandizing the undergraduates

Today begins my twentieth year teaching copy editing at Loyola University Maryland (and, coincidentally, my twenty-eighth at The Baltimore Sun). This post, the latest iteration of my first-day-of-class cautions, is what the students in CM 361: Copy Editing, heard this morning.

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In a word: sublunary

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: 

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Joke of the week: "Muddy Ground"

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You're on holiday; I'm not

We're heading into a holiday weekend during which I will have the con through Monday, so I don't expect to be posting much. 

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My editor, my oppressor

You have heard of me. I operate the Dullatron. I drain the life from reporters' articles. I am a copy editor, determinedly extinguishing originality as I slap a coat of battleship gray over all that is fresh and imaginative. 

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Newsroom sinfonia concertante

Yesterday Jim Romenesko reported that in London The Times is playing a recording of typewriters in its newsroom, an experiment by the editor "to generate some of the excitement of newsrooms." 

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In a word: silly

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: 

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Joke of the week: "The Estimate"

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ABOUT THE BLOGGER


John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers' work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun's night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.

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