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I am not making this up

For many years I’ve watched Baltimore’s City Paper stick pins into the hide of The Baltimore Sun, which is its right and proper function. Imagine, therefore, my surprise at receiving a message from work this morning that this blog has been included in a minor citation in this year’s “Best of Baltimore” issue. *

In the category “Best Civilized Blog”:

BOTH THE SUN AND EXAMINER have flooded the internet with blogs--too many, really, to read them all. But one we always make time for is Sun copy desk chief John E. McIntyre's You Don't Say. McIntyre, who also teaches at Loyola College, writes with wit, erudition, and conciseness about subjects--grammar, editing, the newspaper business--that could easily put one to sleep. That he does so without hectoring or prescriptivism (look it up) is just one bonus. McIntyre, while a traditionalist, knows that language and its rules evolve, and sometimes quickly so. But the real reason for visiting this Kentucky-born gentleman's blog is to learn how to do important stuff, like tying a bow tie (a May 29 video entry), cooking Cincinnati chili (July 24), and, most importantly, making a martini (July 2, also a video). If only the rest of the web was so civilized.

It would be churlish to suggest that the final sentence would have been improved by the subjunctive; one swallows compliments whole. I doff my fedora.


* As I said, I am, like Anna Russell, not making this up. Here’s the citation.



Posted by John McIntyre at 10:59 AM | | Comments (14)


Congratulations, John! In my view, your web log is not only the Best of Baltimore, it is one of the best language-usage blogs on the Web.

Well deserved, Mr. McIntyre. Well deserved.

You are also cited in Wikipedia, for what it's worth:

Mr McIntyre, I preach the gospel of your blog every day.

Congrats, John.

I, um, ... lessee ... sixth that notion! (Those notions, I guess.) Congratulations!


I'm a fan of the language as well and like this web log very much.

Cheers JMc! (with Maker's Mark, of course)

What do you think of the bourbon that has the bottle that looks like a grenade and has the horse on top? Is that Bookers?

And if you had to choose: bourbon or martini? Or would it depend on the occasion? Give us your crazy civilizedness!

I am not frequently enough in funds to distinguish among the bottles of the more exotic bourbons.

As to martini or Manhattan, an agonizing choice.

Gin always with Chinese food, of course, and perhaps with Indian, though beer is preferable there. Bourbon does well with beef.

Generally, one martini or two before/with dinner. But at a party, or some other sort of evening of extended drinking, whiskey is better. And bourbon for a nightcap leaves one less bleary at dawn.

Where does rum fit in?

Usually in planter's punch. On the veranda at sunset.

Then, too, there is the beverage H.L. Mencken called "hand-set whiskey," a favorite of printers, compounded of "wood alcohol, snuff, Tabasco sauce, and coffin varnish."

I tell you, there are nights on the copy desk ...

Then, too, there is the beverage H.L. Mencken called "hand-set whiskey," a favorite of printers, compounded of "wood alcohol, snuff, Tabasco sauce, and coffin varnish."

I've never cared for the taste of Tabasco sauce.

Ah..the subjunctive. In a previous career/lifetime, I taught conversational Italian to college students as well as to adults who wanted to learn enough of the language to travel comfortably. It continually amazed me that a major complaint of both groups was that they had to learn the subjunctive when, after all, we didn't even have that tense in English! So many tenses, so little time...

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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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