Posts Tagged ‘grammar’

Ambiguous headline tickles man

December 8, 2008

The ambiguous headline is a rare and beautiful thing. As PR’s, we scan thousands of headlines every week looking for news relevant to our clients, and most of the time they do exactly what they say on the tin. But every now and again an absolute corker pops up. Perhaps they are honest mistakes – the result of a particularly busy day in the office – or perhaps the journalist has a wicked sense of humour.

I noticed a headline on the Yorkshire Post website last week that sparked my interest more than usual. It read: ‘Horsewoman died in freak show accident’. Now who else instantly thought of a half-woman/half-horse creature that died among other oddities in a freak-show accident?

Obviously this wasn’t the case and the headline actually referred to a very sad story about a woman who died in horse-show accident. You can see what the headline meant but it created a completely different meaning.

A quick Google search later and I had found a list of some classic ambiguous headlines that have appeared over the years. A few of the best were:
• Prostitutes appeal to Pope
• Enraged cow injures farmer with axe
• Iraqi head seeks arms
• Queen Mary having bottom scraped
• Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers

There are also the ridiculously stupid headlines, which go beyond explaining the story, and explain the simply obvious:
• Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
• Sneak attack by Soviet Bloc not foreseen
• Blue skies unless its cloudy

Take a closer look next time you read a paper and let me know if you spot any more gems.

Grammar Nazi: Part Four

October 3, 2008
Organisations are always singular. No not “organisations” (that’s plural obviously) but organisations like British Airways, Microsoft and the Atomic Weapons Establishment. So “British Airways are expanding their horizons” is wrong. British Airways are doing nothing. When we know what British Airways is doing, we’ll let you know…







Grammar Nazi: (Part three of a series)

July 21, 2008

It seems that our healthy obsession with grammar is shared around the globe. Check out this blog about a family of six travelling the world

Apparently bad grammar can kill:  


It can also stop you getting a girlfriend.  It’s amazing what you can find on the internet nowadays…





Grammar Nazi: (Part Two of a series)

July 18, 2008

Sound Advice

Sound Advice


This piece of sound family planning advice apparently came directly from the NHS.


Language is a funny thing, eh? Half the time it says things you didn’t mean to say. The other half it’s used to avoid saying the things you want to say…


Grammar Nazi: Potentially part one of a series…

June 18, 2008

 Just had a rather unsavoury request through from an un-named journalist who asks:

“Are you a mother with a child under five who is a smoker but who doesn’t smoke in the home?”

The journalist in question, did of course mean to ask, “Are you a mother with a child under five?  Do you smoke, but not in the home?”

One hopes, anyway.

And they say that English standards have slipped…

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