Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Headlines can confuse some people: me

Why all my recent confusion with phrases? Here are a couple more. While some clues are present in these headlines they can still baffle a slow reader such as I am.

Man charged after Santa gets pie in face

1. Why was he chasing Santa? And did the pie stop him? Oh no. That would require some sort of colon or semi-colon after "Santa". Now it's clear.

2. So why did they wait till after Santa got the pie before they charged the fellow? And why did they charge him anyway? Well of course he must have thrown the pie. See--headlines are easy.

3. O wait. The guy got the pie in his face. So why were he and Santa charged? And why was Santa charged first?

You've gotta know when to walk away.

Another headline that tied my mental shoelaces together.

Mummified dinosaur reveals surprises: scientists

They're pretty tasty but you have to remember to spit out the Bunsen burner.

(This headline structure was mentioned over at polyglot conspiracy several months ago.)


  1. The second one - colon for quotes - gets me, too, very often. The first one has verb tenses to help you sort it out. ;-)

  2. On the face of a church just down the street:

    "First Church of Christ, Scientist"

  3. That comma is standard for Christian Scientists - that's what their name is. "Christ, Scientist" meaning "Christ, who was a Scientist".

  4. Really? I had no idea. I had always read that as Church of Christ (and by the way its a 'Scientist' church).


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