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How have you offended?

Come back. Really, it’s safe. I’ve sworn off the hontroversy again. Dealing with those people is worse than trying to reason with birthers. We’re back to the usual business.

The word of the week this week is taken from law: gravamen.

Please do not use it in a sentence with Denise Whiting’s name.



Posted by John McIntyre at 1:11 PM | | Comments (4)


I have been reading a book you recommended (on my Kindle--is it still a "book"?) called You Are What You Speak. When I told my 20-year-old science-major son about it, he said, "Sounds boring," but I find it very interesting/enlightening and have been referring it to all of the writers I know, and those who think they know the rules. Thanks!

>on my Kindle--is it still a "book"?

Why wouldn't it be? (??)

In law school, I only ever heard gravamen pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, as GRA - vuh - men, rather than Gra - VAY - men. I, too, mispronounced it. Interesting how we read words we aren't familiar with and form our own idea of how it should sound before we ever speak it.

Karla, if you are reading it on your Kindle, then it's an e-book (or ebook)--unless it's an e-journal or the like.

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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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