IN LAST WEEK’S HINT, I ranted against the use of a preposition (and an article) at the end of a first line of a headline.
Boy, did that get some reaction! Some of your responses follow.
FROM DOUG FISHER: Sorry, Ed, but it’s long ago been declared a nonissue on most desks and at ACES. And readers’ panels at ACES through which we tested headlines made clear it was not an issue to them. As one woman pointedly said when questioned rather severely from an audience member (roughly as I remember it): “You really lose sleep over that?” I remind folks of it as craft the first couple of times, but I don’t push it anymore. Time to declare it a shibboleth and move on.
MY REPLY TO DOUG: Nope. I don’t buy it. It’s part of the discipline. And, yes, I really lose sleep over that. Put me down as a curmudgeon on this!
HIS RESPONSE: You’re one of the few these days, unfortunately. I held on lots longer than most. Even Merrill Perlman, who used to run the Times’ copy desks, and John McIntyre, head of desks in Baltimore, two of the smartest people I know in the biz, acknowledge we probably have to move on.
AND MY REPLY: It’s OK for Perlman and McIntyre to be wrong. If you worked on my desk, you wouldn’t even think of ending the first line of a headline with a preposition or article. That’s it…no negotiation.