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Second anniversary

The first You Don’t Say post burst upon an unsuspecting public on Dec. 20, 2005. Two years later, with the 278th post, this blog has a small but apparently loyal following. Imagine my astonishment.

It’s not the crowds that throng the sports blogs, or the restaurant blog, or even the dating blog, but a hardy band of fellow editors, teachers and admirers of the flexibility and riches of the English language.

I’m grateful for your attention, your willingness to correct and contradict, your kindness in the occasional note of appreciation, and your recognition that there is a reasonable middle ground between mossback purists and the teeming anything-goes crowd.

It has been a pleasure to link arms with Bryan Garner and Bill Walsh and Doug Fisher and Fred Vultee and Andy Bechtel and Kathy Schenck and Pam Robinson and Phil Blanchard and all the other advocates of sound editing and good sense with whom I have swapped remarks and ideas over these past two years.

I plan to keep this up as long as I still have anything useful to say.


Posted by John McIntyre at 8:30 AM | | Comments (8)


Just letting you know that at least one aspiring novelist reads your blog often. I've picked up some helpful hints that I hope will make my future editor's job a little easier.

Congratulations, John.
Thank you for doing this.

Happy anniversary!

What did you get us?

Happy anniversary, John.

That being said, how do you feel about anniversary news stories in general? Some — myself among them, usually — feel they're contrived and artificial. Is there really much news value in noting the 10-year "anniversary" of a natural disaster or the 63-year "milestone" of a war battle? Even when some group gets together and stages a service in commemoration of such an event, they still seem like such narrow-niche interest pieces that unless your story proposes to offer new information or fresh perspective to the event, they seem like easy, lazy ways to fill newshole.

What say you?


The article on the 100th anniversary of the Great Fire of Baltimore (1904) arrived on the copy desk on the eve of the anniversary and was edited on daily deadline.

It was an article that The Sun had had 99 years to prepare.

Congratulations, John! I just discovered your blog a few days ago and look forward to reading it regularly. I had the privilege of working with you and Derf at the Sun back in 1990, and what I learned then has stood me in good stead all these years. Thanks!

Yes indeed -- congratulations.

Mr. McIntyre,

Congratulations on your second anniversary! It is through this blog that I've become familiar with what seems to be your gentle manner and encyclopedic knowledge of English and editing.

I was disappointed to learn in April that you were not at ACES Miami, as I looked forward to meeting you. Perhaps you will be in Denver?

Here's to many more years of You Don't Say.

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About John McIntyre
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
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