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Where I live

If you ask, I will tell you that I live in Hamilton, and most Baltimoreans will understand that I mean an ill-defined area in the northeast quadrant of the city along Harford Road. North of Lauraville, which has more cachet.*

But the official map of neighborhoods produced by the city’s Department of Planning does not list any place called “Hamilton.” It says that I live in something called “Harford-Echodale-Perring Parkway.” (It lists names for a number of other neighborhoods that I suspect would come as a surprise to the people who live there.) And so The Sun, in its reverence for official documents, however meaningless, has referred to “Harford-Echodale-Perring Parkway” for years.

That should be over, because “Harford-Echodale-Perring Parkway” is now officially — you hear that, officially — “Hamilton Hills.” There is an actual sign proclaiming that identity at the intersection of Perring Parkway and Woodbourne, the dedication of which was graced some weeks back by the august presence of the Hon. Robert W. Curran of the City Council. So there.

Now if I can just get anyone at The Sun to read this.

Of course, Hamilton Hills is merely where my physical presence can be found. In the blogosphere, I have many neighbors who share an interest in language and editing and other obscure matters. I should mention a couple of new ones.

Jed Waverly of Providence, Rhode Island, is author of The Penultimate Word. He writes reflectively in retirement, for his own amusement, and I think you will find his blog worth a look.

Carol Fisher Saller, author of The Subversive Copy Editor, a book that you ought to own if you have any pretension to being a serious editor, has set up a blog by the same name. She also writes the monthly question-and-answer feature for The Chicago Manual of Style. Ms. Saller is the editor that everyone deserves to have: graceful, informed, sensible, practical, and wry.

Nice to have them in the neighborhood.

*Cachet, “ka-SHAY,” from the French, meaning prestige. Not cache, pronounced “cash,” meaning to store something safely or the goods and provisions so stored. If I see you using cache for cachet ONE MORE TIME, there are going to be some serious consequences. Do you hear me? Don’t make me come back there.

Posted by John McIntyre at 10:17 AM | | Comments (10)


Newspapers get everything right except for the stuff readers know about.

I won't say that programmer-type people never-ever mix "cache" and "cachet," but "cache" and "caching" are concepts in, um, heavy rotation in the world of software, so it seems likelier that they will at least pronounce "cache" without any frou-frou extra vowels on the end. I might be wrong. :-)

Your observation about official vs other names for areas of a city seems like it would be good fodder for a Steinberg-style cartoon of how the inhabitants view the city vs what it (supposedly) looks like on a map.

Thank you for the "shout-out," John. I'm honored to be on your radar screen.

Cache versus cachet is also one of my major peeves.

Mr Mc, sir, your link to Language Log only reopens You Don't Say. Not that I'm at all anxious to leave...

Oh sweet lord! John McIntyre used an underscore when he was supposed to use a dash in paragraph three..."Harford-Echodale_Perring Parkway”.

This can't be happening! Oh dear lord! Save us!

"*Cachet, “ka-SHAY,” from the French, meaning prestige."

Of course, if it means prestige, why didn't you say, "prestige"? But I guess that wouldn't give the same prestige.

Mencken used to write "street," "road," etc. in lowercase, as in "Pratt street." Was this Sun style back then, or just HLM being curmudgeonly?

Lower-case for "street", road" and so on in addresses was style in British newspapers until the 1950s, often hyphenated, as in Oxford-street.

Today's captcha giggle: 'to sauciest'. As we say in BrE: ooer missus.

Street is lowercased in the 1944 Sunpapers stylebook.

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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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