AJR has a piece on journalists' grammatical pet peeves. It includes the usual suspects, but a couple of gems are tucked in between.
From Andrea Billups, a staff correspondent at People magazine:
"I once worked at a paper where the top editor banned in a memo use of the term 'nitty gritty,' claiming it was Jazz-era slang for female genitalia. Having looked it up, I'm fairly sure that it's not. I suppose I would agree that it's jargon, though. But that was never the argument. It seems, in retrospect, a tad nutty if you ask me, but most editors, if they last long enough, come up with these insipid sacred cows that they enforce just because they can. Maybe it's just editorial dementia."From Allan Fallow, managing editor of AARP Books:
"In the pages of a Time-Life book, you could not instruct the public to 'chop the onions finely'; ex-Managing Editor Jerry Korn insisted that adverb technically applied to the person doing the chopping, thus giving him or her a mincing appearance. Instead, he mandated all Time-Life cookbooks would henceforth command the reader to 'chop the onions fine,' employing an adjective that properly described the post-chopped condition of those vegetables."And here's one -- from Linda Fibich, the Washington bureau chief for Newhouse News Service -- that I share wholeheartedly:
"'Declined comment.' As in, 'No thank you; I had a comment for breakfast.' A source declines TO comment."I've had perfectly reasonable editors argue with me on that one. But I'd love to see them justify "he declined respond." Hmph.