You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
What editors are thankful for

Deadlines

Without them, nothing would ever be finished.

The DELETE key

The indispensable tool.

Garner’s Modern American Usage

Informed prescriptivism to keep the peeververein at bay.

Linguists

Liberating us from rubbish we were taught in English class.

Lexicographers

Smart people keeping us apprised of developments in language we need to know.

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In a word: epigone

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:

EPIGONE

If you admire and emulate someone, you may be called a follower, a disciple, an acolyte. But if you fail to measure up, you may merely be an epigone (pronounced EP-uh-gohn), an inferior imitator.

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The holidays are upon us. Be vigilant.

I am trying to get ahead of the nonsense by publishing the annual holiday proscriptions. Read and heed.

Repetitions of ritual establish continuity and reassurance through familiarity.

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Don't step on your own feet when you try to get the word out

When people write, they forget how they read.

Yesterday, in irritation, I tweeted, “At The Sun we get email with the subject line ‘Press Release’ or ‘For Immediate Release.’ Might as well say ‘Delete unread.’ ”

Someone replied to it, asking, “Tell my students what you’d rather see,” and I answered, “A headline that says what the damned thing is about. Six, eight, ten intelligible words.”

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In a word: satrap

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:

SATRAP

The administrative structure of the Persian Empire included governors of provinces, or satrapies. Such a governor was a satrap (pronounced SAY-trap).

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Two good rules

The Editors’ Association of Earth, a public Facebook group in which I participate occasionally, has adopted two salutary guidelines for discussion. Its “things-not-to-do” list now includes these:

“Posts/comments that refer to non-standard, informal or dialect words as uneducated use.

“Posts/comments that are derogatory about language from regions/countries other than what you believe to be standard.”

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