Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Says is just fine, thank you

Bill Walsh at Blogslot has a good note that it's perfectly fine to say a document "says" something. No need to use "stated," and that's not a good choice anyhow. AP's fine former feature writer Jack Cappon wrote in "The Word," a book that should be on every thinking journalist's desk, that stated, along with asserted and declared, are much more formal. Stated, Cappon writes, shouldn't be used at all; it is the instant mark of a wooden writer.

"According to" is also an acceptable subsitute in my book. And note that "says" is generally preferred to "said" when referring to a document of recent vintage (it doesn't change what it's saying, after all). At some point, as time lengthens, "said" becomes more acceptable.

Walsh also makes a good point that it's pointless to change "raised" to "reared" when referring to people.

(But as you might note from my earlier on "sex" and "gender," I disagree with his Oct. 17 post that "gender" is an acceptable substitute for "sex.")


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