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By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | April 14, 2014
When a fire broke out at a home on Myrtle Avenue in Halethorpe, members of the English Consul Volunteer Fire Department arrived to beat back the blaze. It proved too strong, destroying the structure and sending two firefighters to the hospital. Federal authorities now say that one of the volunteers injured in the September 2007 blaze intentionally set it, one in a string of suspicious fires in the area at the time. Documents filed in U.S. District Court last week lay out the case against Nicholas Hannigan, 27, a deputy chief with the English Consul department who told federal investigators in 2011 that he set the fire by igniting a wheelbarrow full of insulation, prosecutors say. The alleged disclosure came as Hannigan went through a screening to become a Secret Service employee.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | April 2, 2014
Write about language, as about climate change or evolution, and what do you get? A strident chorus of denial. I wonder why. Last week Tom Chivers wrote about English grammar at The Telegraph , patiently explaining why a good deal of what has been taught about grammar is unsound and what linguists, Geoffrey Pullum in particular, have discovered in examining how we speak and write. ( "Are grammar Nazis ruining the English language?" was an unfortunate headline, overstating the case and using the inflammatory Nazi , but we'll pass on.)
SPORTS
By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun | March 15, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. - When infielder Jonathan Schoop won the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year award in September 2011, he traveled to Camden Yards to accept the honor. The shy, skinny Curacao native, then 19 years old, couldn't have looked more uncomfortable on the field that day, tentatively shaking hands with staff and players while giving barely audible answers to reporters in a language that he was still learning. There was a common sentiment within the media: This is the kid who beat out top prospect Manny Machado for an award that bears the name of Hall of Famer?
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 14, 2014
Writing at Sentence First   Stan Carey looks at some short works by Robert Burchfield the philologist/lexicographer who worked on the Oxford English Dictionary  and produced an updated edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage .  He concludes by quoting a short passage that you may want to post above your desk as a corrective to the ill-informed crotchets of viewers-with-alarm who imagine that this word, or that usage, or...
FEATURES
By Marie Marciano Gullard, For The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2014
For anyone who has ever longed for the charm of an English-inspired country home within Baltimore City, 38 Warrenton Road in Guilford just might be the perfect cup of tea. Built in 1924, this three-story stone and stucco home, embellished with gables and dormers, is open for viewing and priced at $825,000. "All of the houses on this part of the street are good, medium-sized Guilford homes; not overwhelming, not mansions," said listing agent Frank Locke of Chase, Fitzgerald & Co. With a 3,830-square-foot living space, the home has six bedrooms, three full bathrooms and one half-bathroom.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 8, 2014
When you hear someone going on about The Rules in English, you should be on your guard, just as when some personage with a clerical collar starts to say, "The Church has always taught. ... " You are likely to hear, at best, a misconception, at worst, an outright whopper.  I have tried to establish the usefulness of distinguishing rules from conventions, shibboleths, superstitions, house style, and individual aesthetic preferences .  Take, for example, the eighteenth-century convention of separating subject from verb with a comma.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2014
In a charming book by David and Hilary Crystal about sites in Britain important in the history of the English language,* there is a passage on Dryden and Swift and the eternally recurring and eternally hopeless call for an academy to regulate the English language.  It cropped up recently as a project of the Queen's English Society, an outfit that collapsed from its own futility. (Though it did afford me a little fun in imagining its proceedings .) The Crystals explain succinctly why nothing has ever come of the idea:  "It was Dr. Johnson who identified the fundamental flaw in the proposal.
NEWS
By Sean Hannigan | December 19, 2013
My wife thinks I'm incredibly rude because I never introduce her to anyone I'm talking to. She comes up, listens in, waits on the introduce-me square - and I know what she's waiting for, what they're both waiting for - but there's nothing I can do, and I always end up feeling like, and seeming like, a jerk. There is a syndrome where you can't remember names. Two percent of the population has it, and while my case may not be the as severe as some, I'm on the spectrum. Of course I have no idea of what the name of this syndrome is. But it's real.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | November 8, 2013
Samuel J. English III, a former WBAL-TV staff announcer and weather forecaster who later held broadcasting positions at Maryland Public Television and Towson University, died Sunday of respiratory failure at his Pikesville home. He was 79. "Jim was eloquent and absolutely good at what he did. He was a great broadcasting professional, and I've always admired him," said Donald Thoms, who had worked with Mr. English at WBAL-TV in the 1960s. "He was like no one else. He had a sharp wit and was well-seasoned, and he told great stories and always with a great flourish.
NEWS
October 27, 2013
I find it puzzling that so many people are up in arms over the name of the Washington Redskins football team ("A painful past," Oct. 24). "Redskin" may have been a racial slur at one time, but now it's really just the name of a football team. But if it still manages to offend some especially sensitive individuals, they can dry their little eyes. I am offering my own ethnic groups as a source for a new name for the D.C. football team. How about: The Swedish Square-Heads or The Norgies or The Krauts or The English Sissy-Nannies?
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