Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Mobile

Should we just get John Prine to sing the "Ask the Editor" blog, or what?

Q. I appear to be the only one who didn't get the message. Are we now calling children kids? – from Mobile, Ala. on Tue, Sep 30, 2014
A. While not a Stylebook term, kids is usually acceptable in news stories, particularly lighter fare, reflecting wide use in society. In some news situations, children as a more formal term may be more appropriate.
Dear Mobile: You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't the only one who didn't get the message. We've been calling children "kids" since the 17th century --"originally low slang, but by the 19th c. frequent in familiar speech," as the OED puts it. If you're at the sort of operation that drops the occasional "moniker" or "eatery" into a story, you have no complaint. And if you've figured out that some words work better in some stories than in others, then you're well on your way to better things as it is.

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