Today's most misleading headline

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 28 14:59:44 UTC 2008

My wife sent me this:


> Queen Elizabeth Must Die Or Abdicate For Australian Republic
> Well, that's a pretty unnerving headline. Turns out, in the article, that
> a supporter of Australia becoming a republic noted that Australians, while
> favoring a republic, are personally fond of Queen Elizabeth and would not
> vote to end their association with the monarchy until she was no longer on
> the throne. Despite the implications of this headline, there is no
> indication that anyone intends to rush things, thank goodness.


Un-idiomatic, ungrammatical, or badly worded headlines are frequently
excused as being due to constraints of space, and often that's true. But
here the headline writer could have said

No Australian Republic While Elizabeth Is Queen

which is 13 characters shorter. They could even have added the attribution
to "Malcolm Turnbull, now opposition treasury spokesman" (para. 2) --

Turnbull: No Australian Republic While Elizabeth Is Queen

and still have been 3 characters ahead.

The American Dialect Society -

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