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You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
Donnish humor

I have been reading Alan Taylor’s formidably learned and formidably researched American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, learning things on every page about an era in which I thought I was tolerably well informed.

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Among the things not worth bothering about, a Throwback Thursday feature

This is a short text from the other You Don't Say site, the one I created when The Sun briefly dispensed with my services in 2009. 


Don't make me no nevermind

I can’t hardly think why so many people get all bent out of shape over minor variations in language. Myself, I could care less how people talk or what they write in text messages and e-mails or anything else casual they’re writing at.

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The "war on grammar" was lost a long time ago

Earlier today Oliver Kamm pointed to a singularly witless article in National Review Online, “The War on Grammar” by Josh Gelernter.


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In word: skive

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:


Slang is the great weedy garden from which hardy new strains grow, particularly when a slang word or expression provides a meaning not precisely available before, or adds a note of color to an existing meaning.

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It was ever thus

When those of furrowed brows cluck their teeth about how far The Media has declined in our degenerate age, a little historical perspective can be helpful.

Here is A.J. Liebling, his essays collected in The Press, writing about the emerging news of the death of Josef Stalin in March 1953.

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How they say it in Baltimore

I was scarcely caffeinated this morning when I was braced by a challenge on Twitter: “why does the Sun use the pretentious and suburban ‘row home’ instead of the correct Baltimore term ‘rowhouse’?”

Rowhouse is in The Sun’s stylebook. I put it there, even though the spell-check, over which I have no control, flags it every time.

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