Archive for Headlinese

Cats and dogs and garden paths

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

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"Sondland implicates Trump, says Pence"?

This headline sent me down the garden path for a couple of seconds:

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-ant, -ent, whatever

This Washington Post item confused me for a few seconds:

I first interpreted the headline as "Donald Trump is confident that Roger Stone is guilty on all counts, and" (whoops) "he (=Trump) faces up to 50 years in prison"?

I was sent down this particular garden path by the recent flurry of news stories about the president throwing various supporters under the metaphorical bus. But the whole -ant v. -ent mess didn't help.

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House murders mother

British headline-syntax example of the week: "Sheffield deaths: House murders accused mother in court", BBC News 5/27/2019.

The link was sent in by H. Kepponen, who notes that

the story is not about a domestic residence killing a woman inside a courtroom with malice aforethought, but about a mother who has been charged with murdering two of her children in a house … and who was brought to court today.

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Intentionally ambiguous headline

"The Lost Harvest of Chinese Food Plants in Venezuela", By José González Vargas, Caracas Chronicles (May 11, 2019)

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Syntax puzzle of the day

A headline sent in by Yoram Meroz: "Congressman Florida Man hired former Trump staffer fired after hanging around white nationalists", Daily Kos 4/19/2019.

Yoram wrote "Here's a headline I could probably decipher, but I haven't tried."

I tried and failed — I leave it to our clever commenters to solve the mystery.

The references are easy to understand, from the body of the story and extensive other coverage — the "Florida Man" is Matt Gaetz, and the "former Trump staffer" is Darren Beattie.

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A permier university

Headline in the Washington Post (a few minutes ago):

A professor at China's permier university questioned Xi Jinping. Then he was suspended.

Obligatory screenshot:

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Deadly homicide

As opposed to the salubrious kind, presumably….

FOX 5 DC News (3/3/19) headline:

"Fairfax County police identify victims of deadly triple homicide in Springfield"

Fairfax County police have identified the three people found shot dead at a home in Springfield overnight.

As Bob Dylan and Paula Cole might have sung, "Where have all the editors gone …"

[h.t. Don Keyser]

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Anti-anti

From today's Financial Times:

I think they meant "anti-anti-Semitism ceremony".

[h.t. Donald Clarke]

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China rules

For the last few weeks, the New York Times has been running a hyped-up, gushing series of lengthy articles under the rubric "China rules". On a special section in the paper edition for Sunday, November 25, they printed this gigantic headline in Chinese characters — and made a colossal mistake:

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Deficit balloons are the new crash blossoms

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Colorless green vaccine-laced M&Ms

Commenting on the (7/12/2016) headline "US government plans to use drones to fire vaccine-laced M&Ms near endangered ferrets", Joyeuse Noëlle on Tumblr noted that

The best part of this title is that in the second half, each new word is completely unpredictable based on what comes before it.

"US government plans to use drones to fire" okay, I see where this is going

"vaccine-laced" wait

"M&Ms" what

"near" not 'at'?

"endangered" what

"ferrets" what

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Multiscriptal, multilingual Hong Kong headline

Bob Bauer sent in this photograph of a recent headline from a Hong Kong newspaper:

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