Decisive undecideds

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From Arthur Stock, a picture of a headline in an actual paper newspaper:


  1. Fernando Montenegro said,

    January 30, 2016 @ 7:51 pm

    Sorry for butting in. / Headline writing can be "blah", or a trap, or an art. This one, if intentional, is pure inspired artistry! / What is URI?

  2. Coby Lubliner said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 9:42 am

    I wonder if the headline writer was influenced by other languages in which an adjective can be routinely turned into a noun and hence pluralized (indecisos, Unentschlossene, нерешенные). In standard English this normally works only if the adjective is preceded by the and then is automatically plural (the undecided); but this wouldn't work in headlinese, which doesn't allow the.

  3. Tim Finin said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 10:39 am

    Can we get a Hallelujah! Not as good as 'Headless Body in Topless Bar', but it works.

  4. Rodger C said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

    I'd spend a lot more than $82,000 for the Pope's fiat.

  5. Monte Davis said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 2:50 pm

    I read it as intentional, albeit a little blunted by the simultaneous "How could that have gotten through?" response. .

  6. Xtifr said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 5:15 pm

    You can be decisively (determinedly) indecisive. When I was young, I used to describe myself as a "devout agnostic". :D

  7. Pseudonym said,

    January 31, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

    Papal fiat for sale? All right, I've got the hammer and nails ready, if someone would kindly point me in the direction of Wittenberg…

  8. mollymooly said,

    February 1, 2016 @ 10:14 am

    @Coby Lubliner: I don't think the interesting part of the headline is the plural "undecideds", which is long-established pollsterese: see "LIFE" magazine, 18 Oct 1954 p.159 or "The West Wing", season 7 episode 8. A (non-US?) synonym is "don't knows".

  9. BZ said,

    February 1, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

    I don't see anything wrong with this headline. I feel like plural undecideds is regular headlinese and the meaning is clear enough (votes from the undecided still matter)

  10. Roger Lustig said,

    February 1, 2016 @ 9:39 pm

    @Pseudonym: What with all his Franciscan envy, it's no surprise that the Pope didn't shell out the extra for the Fiat Luxe.

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