Biggest busts in Baltimore sports history

You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
In a word: logomachy

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.

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How we talk about grammar when we talk about grammar

I have participated in any number of online discussions of English grammar and usage, many of them thoughtful and informative. But quite a few fall into this depressing pattern:

1. Someone (A) posts a dogmatic assertion about some point of usage, often a shibboleth or superstition, looking for affirmation.

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"They" is back

My amiable colleague George William “Bill” Cloud of the University of North Carolina poses this question:

From today’s story in The Wall Street Journal on the United Airlines issue:

"The crew was needed the next day at the flight’s destination in Louisville, Ky., the person said. They had been delayed by a mechanical problem earlier."

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In a word: iatrogenic

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:

IATROGENIC

A person goes into the hospital for what is described as a routine procedure, something goes awry during surgery, and the patient winds up in an extended stay for treatment of something completely different

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Peevery epitomized

Among the comments on a Grammar Girl post on Facebook about singular they is this exquisite specimen, from one Anthony Tackett:

“One more symptom of the degradation of society. Everyone must do her or his part to combat this. Learn how to use the written language. If it no longer applies to popular culture then, by all means, let's look at updating it.

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In a word: thurifer

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:

THURIFER

In just a few days I will be serving as thurifer at the Great Vigil of Easter in my parish.

Thurifer (pronounced THUR-uh-fer) is from the Latin thuribulum, thus, “frankincense,” plus fero, “to carry.”

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