Johns Hopkins students create high-heeled prosthetic

You Don't Say

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

Starbucks has a dress code for its baristas, and its latest iteration permits the wearing of fedoras on the job.

What Starbucks calls a fedora is not a fedora.

A fedora is a felt hat with a lengthwise crease in the crown, which is pinched in the front on both sides, and a wide brim. The brim may be worn snapped down or snapped up.

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A myriad of bogus authorities

A colleague drew my attention this morning to a post of advice on grammar and usage, “9 grammatical mistakes you need to stop making before I throw live scorpions at you.” It left me inclined to fling a few things myself.

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In a word: implacable

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:


Everyone knows someone—a teacher, an editor or writer, a colleague, a relative—whose stubborn and forbidding opposition is as great an obstacle as a boulder fallen onto the highway.

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A wee dram with The Old Editor

H.L. Mencken said, “The angels know when it’s five o’clock,” and so do I.

At 5:00 p.m. this Sunday, July 24, I plan to be at Liam Flynn’s Ale House, 22 West North Avenue in Baltimore, which recently gained a reprieve from eviction.

If any reader, past, present, or potential, would care to join me for a quiet ale or a wee dram of the water of life, I’d be happy to chat for an hour or two.

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The voice of the editor

The online question-and-answer feature of the Chicago Manual of Style has a cult following among editors, and so it comes as no surprise that a little anthology of its advice has been published: But Can I Start a Sentence with “But”? (University of Chicago Press, 118 pages, $15).

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The Old Editor dives back into commas


Again this 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: I enjoy reading your blog.

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