morbid crash blossom

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 10 13:53:21 UTC 2013

On Mar 10, 2013, at 8:55 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:

> More correspondence has come in about that item than for any in recent
> years. Lots of readers were puzzled because they couldn't find anything
> wrong with it.

Right; I had to go fishing on the web for one with the appropriate syntax.  Several versions did include the disambiguating relative clause ("BABY BORN AFTER CRASH WHICH/THAT KILLS PARENTS") or past tense, which helps eliminate the crash blossom reading ("BABY BORN AFTER CRASH KILLED PARENTS"), given the oddness of an actual past tense in such headlines.  There were a couple of the form I gave below.  But then again the Toronto Star version allows yet another crash blossom reading, which makes it sound like the poor orphaned baby now behind bars was an accomplice.

> I might have included, for different reasons, the headline from the
> Toronto Star on friday: "man charged after New York crash that killed
> couple, baby being held with no bail."
>> Headline from today's edition of Michael Quinion's World Wide Words:
>> (e.g. at
>> Yup, and then he threw himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds
>> that he's an orphan.
> --
> Michael Quinion
> Editor, World Wide Words
> Web:

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