“C’mon. Give. What black art did they entangle you with? Satanism? Necromancy? Six Sigma?”
He leaned forward and whispered.

It’s time for “Grammarnoir” from John E. McIntyre

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I think that from now on I’ll just hand this piece out at the start of my editing classes:

I must also caution you from the outset that this course is appallingly, unrelievedly dull. A student from a previous term complained in the course evaluation that “he just did the same thing over and over day after day.” Exactly. So will you. Editing is done word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and we will go over texts in class, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. No one will hear you scream.

I’m going to turn my back for a minute so that anyone who wants to bolt can escape.

John E. McIntyre in The Baltimore Sun


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Erm, I think maybe you meant “the vast space within”?

Enormity: (1) “the quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.” (2) A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage. (From my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.) As I do not have my copy of Garner’s handy at the moment, I can’t tell you where “enormity” used for “great size, immensity,” now sits on the Language Change Index. My AHD calls that definition a “usage problem,” but Merriam-Webster lists it as an acceptable definition and argues, “When used to denote large size, either literal or figurative, it usually suggests something so large as to seem overwhelming… .” For me, “enormity” to mean “very large” stops me every time; if I were the copyeditor for this site (was there a copyeditor for this site?), I would have suggested considering some different wording in order to avoid the issue altogether.

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(From the City Modern home tours web site)