Headline grammar

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 5 01:40:17 UTC 2013

When I saw this in the news it didn't strike me as being odd (it still
doesn't).  I may have even had to have read it twice to understand it, but
that happens often enough with headlines.  Isn't it common enough to delete
a word like "being" (between "after" and "stuck")?

Clicking on the link to the article (I resisted the temptation when I saw
it in the news, telling myself there are better ways to spend 20 seconds
than finding out why an NYU student got stuck between two buildings), I see
that the article has a nice case of ambiguity:

The mother of a New York University student recovering in the hospital
after being trapped between two buildings says her son "can't remember" how
he got stuck and that he has several broken bones and possibly a fractured

On first read it sounded to me like the mother was recovering (I thought I
was reading headlinese/captionese, with a deleted "is" between "student"
and "recovering").

[PS -- I set the word "grammar" in a gmail filter to mark ADS-L messages as
important.  Nice to see that it pops up once in a while.]

On Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 3:40 AM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Headline grammar
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=20775591
> NYU Student Hospitalized After Stuck Between Buildings for 2 Days
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Randy Alexander
Xiamen, China
Manchu studies: http://www.sinoglot.com/manchu
Language in China (group blog): http://www.sinoglot.com/blog
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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