Besides the dropping energy levels and unsightly wrinkles that daily remind me of my advancing age, I never expected an Associated Press style rule—beaten into me as a young reporter—to deliver the one-two punch that landed me squarely into the “old fogies” category.
I was editing a JAMA Viewpoint about a fairly modern question involving gender identity, hormone levels, and eligibility for women’s athletic events when my knee began to jerk at first sight of the descriptor “raised,” as it applies to how or where someone grew up.
As soon as I saw the word, I heard harsh tones in my head and felt the breeze of a wagging finger: “Corn and cattle are raised, people are reared!” So I dutifully changed “raised” to “reared” as the AP Stylebook commands. Soon, I sent the proof off for review by the senior editors and the authors.
As I had predicted, one of the medical editors deleted “reared” and inserted “raised.” I knew I was right about this! I was poised to cross off the edit when I thought, “Maybe I should look at a newer version of a stylebook, just to see if the rules have slackened over the decades.” (Our own AMA Manual of Style is silent on the matter.) My office was too cluttered to find the newest Associated Press Stylebook, so I turned to Google.
The first search result was titled “Grammar Gremlins: Is it ‘reared’ or ‘raised’?” I clicked—who says a pithy headline doesn’t draw in a reader? Knoxville News Sentinel Columnist Don Ferguson, who by his photo looks older than me, offered his first sentence:
A recent Associated Press report about an accused terrorist said the man was “born and reared” in America.
He followed with,
Did this use of “reared” instead of “raised” say something about the age of the writer?
Oh my goodness! Who would have thought that old style rule would say more about me than my slowing gait? He noted that youngsters favor “raised.” He cited Garners Modern American Usage’s calculations that “born and raised” is used 8 times more often than “born and reared.”
As with most of often-confused words, he also noted that dictionaries say either is correct.
I dropped my pen and conceded the edit.—Beverly Stewart