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By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 26, 2012
You may imagine that journalists, because they make their bread by wielding language, would (a) know something about grammar and usage and (b) write about grammar and usage intelligently. If so, you have a vivid imagination. I put it to you (prosecutorial mode today) that a recent article in The Wall Street Journal on grammar in the workplace is a farrago of shibboleths and cultural prejudices. Even if you accept a broader definition of grammar that includes spelling, punctuation, and style conventions, the article is useless.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2014
Online, discussions of grammar tend to display confusion about what the subject is, and the usual admixture of rubbish and emotion does not help. There is, of course, the confusion between grammar as grammarians and linguists discuss it technically, and spelling and punctuation. But other, unstated meanings are often involved. A post by Lucy Ferriss at Lingua Franca , "Grammar: The Movie,"  identifies some of the additional meanings that surface in a new documentary.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | December 18, 2012
I received a note a couple of days ago from a gentleman concerned about the placement of commas in the various drafts of the Second Amendment. And today, at The New Yorker , Jeffrey Toobin writes that "the text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical. " Well, The New Yorker may not be the best place to go for instruction on grammar and usage . The Founders (it's a little vexing to have to keep explaining this ) loved Latinate constructions, one of which is the absolute, a phrase modifying a whole clause, often consisting of a noun and a participle.
NEWS
By Lynne Agress | July 28, 2014
Presentations are big business today. When 34-year-old Chelsea Clinton, who has never held public office, can command $75,000 for a single presentation, people take note. Moreover, the fairly recent popularity of TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has been extraordinary. The totally diverse topics of TED Talks range from the personal to the political, from medicine and science, to religion and philosophy and much more. Billed as "funny," "beautiful," "fascinating," "informative," "courageous" and "inspiring," TED Talks are presented by well known figures such as Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Sheryl Sandberg as well as "nerds" one has barely heard of. Merely click on TED and no fewer than 1,700 current presentation topics appear.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
First there was a brouhaha about the Oxford comma, prompted by a post at FiveThirtyEight  in which I was quoted. (Click here  for my post on the subject and its link to the original article.) Then screams of outrage on Twitter  followed an article by Roy Peter Clark defending the use of the passive voice. (Click here to read what I had  previously posted on the subject.*)  I appreciate editors who have undertaken the effort to master the Associated Press Stylebook  (which is more than writers for the Associated Press trouble to do)
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 7, 2014
A colleague has sent me an email recounting one of those interminable but sterile discussions that the Internet has enabled, this one about Ukraine vs. the Ukraine .  Let's get that out of the way first. The country calls itself Ukraine , which gives the preference a degree of authority. The Ukraine  is a relic of the time when it was a part of R ussia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Ukrainians are touchy, feeling that the definite article reduces them to the status of a region rather than an independent nation.  The preference in journalism for Ukraine over the Ukraine  dates from the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence.
NEWS
April 30, 2002
CAN A COMPUTER be intellectually lazy? We know people can. That's what explains our ever-increasing reliance on machines to do our thinking for us: the calculators we use to figure 15 percent on a restaurant bill; the spell-checkers and grammar-checkers we lean on when writing with word processing software. Turns out we may be counting on gadgets that are doing a little brain-napping of their own -- at least as far as the grammar-checker is concerned. The New York Times reported recently that an English professor's look at Microsoft's dominant Word 2000 grammar-checker (famous for the wavy green line it places over improperly worded passages)
NEWS
By RONALD KOTULAK and RONALD KOTULAK,CHICAGO TRIBUNE | April 27, 2006
CHICAGO -- Scientists are running out of things they think truly separate humans from other animals. For a long time the reigning difference was thought to be tool-making, but then they discovered that chimpanzees and gorillas use tools. One of the last bastions of human uniqueness, they surely thought, is language. Although animals can communicate, it was thought to be in only a fixed way - using sequences of sounds with specific meanings that never vary. Humans supposedly were different because they can follow rules of grammar.
SPORTS
By Vito Stellino and Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer | August 14, 1994
When coach Norv Turner was discussing the Washington Redskins' sloppy performance in a 17-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night, he was asked whether the short practice week after the Monday night game in Buffalo was a factor."
NEWS
By Liz Bowie | liz.bowie@baltsun.com | March 10, 2010
Baltimore County schools spent $300,000 last fall to buy high school grammar books for elementary school educators, including some who teach music, art and gym, and administrators acknowledge that they failed to follow purchasing rules for the desk reference. The district did not ask the school board to approve the purchase of The Little, Brown Handbook, as it was required to do, until after The Baltimore Sun had requested and been given a copy of purchase orders from October and January.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 4, 2014
On my way to class one day at Michigan State, I encountered Roger Meiners, in whose class I had studied Roethke, Lowell, Berryman, and Jarrell. I asked him where he was headed, and he said, "I'm off to teach "Prufrock" for the twelfth time. " Beat. "When are they ever going to figure it out?" I get the same feeling as I write this blog. After trying to establish, patiently and thoroughly, for dozens of times a sensible understanding about English usage, there is always someone for whom the demolition of some usage superstition is big, unsettling news.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2014
The class of language commentators I have labeled the peeververein, the complainers about the supposed degredation of English, upholders of bogus schoolroom grammar, and defenders of embattled cultural standards, preen themselves as serious people.  They are not.  They are poseurs whose snobbery and shallow understanding of the language are readily exposed.  At Caxton , Barrie England has graciously offered his platform to...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
First there was a brouhaha about the Oxford comma, prompted by a post at FiveThirtyEight  in which I was quoted. (Click here  for my post on the subject and its link to the original article.) Then screams of outrage on Twitter  followed an article by Roy Peter Clark defending the use of the passive voice. (Click here to read what I had  previously posted on the subject.*)  I appreciate editors who have undertaken the effort to master the Associated Press Stylebook  (which is more than writers for the Associated Press trouble to do)
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2014
The holiday weekend has started, and many of you are undoubtedly trapped in slow-moving traffic on your way to the beach or the mountains. And because it's a holiday weekend, those of you who are not trapped on the road won't be reading anyhow, but enjoying summery drinks on the verandah.  That makes it more the pity that you will be missing these links to some choice pieces of writing about language by my friends and colleagues. Check them out when you get back. Item:  So you think you know something about grammar?
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.)
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2014
Let me share with you a handy timesaver: Whenever you see someone complain about the "dumbing-down of English," stop reading. Move along. Nothing to see there.  What "the dumbing-down of the language" invariably means is that someone's pet crotchet has been violated or exposed as a fraud, and there is wailing as if Constantinople has fallen to the Turks all over again. A lot of that clamor since Thursday, when the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook  announced that they have dropped the over/more than  distinction.* The major dumbing-down of the language had pretty much been completed by 1400, as you can see in the work of that smirking rhymster Chaucer.
NEWS
By Gina Davis and Gina Davis,SUN STAFF | November 21, 2004
Carroll County's English teachers are dusting off their grammar books as part of the school system's effort to bolster students' writing and reading skills. For nearly four decades, grammar instruction was discouraged in school systems across the nation, as researchers asserted that the stringent rules robbed students of their creativity. But in a back-to-basics move, school officials are emphasizing the need for students to learn grammar as the key to developing strong writing skills.
NEWS
By Dave Barry and Dave Barry,Knight Ridder / Tribune | February 25, 2001
It is with great decrepitude that we present another episode of "Ask Mister Language Person," the column that was recently voted "Best American Grammar Column in America" by a panel of Florida voters who were actually trying to order Chinese food. The philosophy of this column is simple: if you have good language skills, you will be respected and admired; whereas if you clearly have no clue about grammar or vocabulary, you could become president of the United States. The choice is yours!
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 7, 2014
A colleague has sent me an email recounting one of those interminable but sterile discussions that the Internet has enabled, this one about Ukraine vs. the Ukraine .  Let's get that out of the way first. The country calls itself Ukraine , which gives the preference a degree of authority. The Ukraine  is a relic of the time when it was a part of R ussia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Ukrainians are touchy, feeling that the definite article reduces them to the status of a region rather than an independent nation.  The preference in journalism for Ukraine over the Ukraine  dates from the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 6, 2014
An inquiry came over the transom yesterday from a reader who cringed at an American Idol  contestant's use of "me and my mom" and "me and my sister," which the writer said was "like fingernails on a chalk board. " My standard reply is that I have my hands full editing the work of professional journalists for publication, and that people's speech, text messages, and other casual writings lie beyond the scope of my writ.  But that is a dodge. Actually, I don't mind the "me ands" all that much.* I think that that statement would strike horror in the English teachers of my childhood, who were at considerable pains to browbeat us into talking proper.** I suggest that you consider what it would be like if everyone spoke using the grammar of standard written English--that is, for example, if everyone were as pompous, polysyllabic, and priggish in speech as I am. You would recoil in horror.  One of the pleasures of encountering demotic speech (from the Greek demos , "the people")
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