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Spot the headline “error”

August 28, 2012
Logo by Christine Hepner

Before we begin, let me apologize to the writer of the headline in question. I know that there is nothing worse for a real writer than to have a pedantic little smart ass waiting to pounce on any tiny little grammatical quirk just so she can get a few extra hits on her blog. Not to mention that the smart ass in question is a “writer” herself (and yes, as a blogger and a technical writer, I do realize that I am at the bottom of the writer food chain) and the life partner of a real writer. We are also friends with so many talented journalists and writers, so there is no excuse for this sort of ungracious and blatant “hit grab.”

I’ve received my fair share of “constructive criticism” over the years and lately to my great relief, it’s been overwhelmingly positive. I’d like to thank all of you who have been sweet and kind enough to let me know that you’ve found my blog to be informative and funny. (I’m hoping that’s funny as in “ha ha” or funny as in “ironic,” and not funny as in “the poor girl, whatever could she be thinking?”.) I’ve also had a few people compliment my “style,” calling it simple. (And here, I’m hoping they’ve meant simple as in “straightforward and honest,” and not simple, as in “I believe it because I heard it on Fox News.”)

So, enough about that–to the contest. I’m not questioning the veracity of the headline itself. I’m assuming that the story is true. And I’m sure the headline writer and his/her editors would argue that the headline conforms to the journalistic style of his/her organization.

I think it’s awkward and potentially misleading. See if you agree! Oh, and you must leave a comment as to why you think it’s awkward and misleading.

Here it is:

Ex-Chinese politician’s wife guilty of murder

Good luck and may the biggest pedant win!

Thanks for following and reading! I’d love to hear your story of IVF. Please leave your comments below.

© 2012 grayhairedmom.com

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8 Comments
  1. Kathy Stasiowski permalink

    Damn! I wish I had checked my email sooner and won the big prize!

    Your ex-Pennsylvanian English teacher friend who knows where to place her modifiers

    Like

    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Kathy you do get the honorary Mr. Stafferi “A” for the day for providing an excellent example!

      Like

  2. Bev permalink

    is he no longer Chinese?

    Like

  3. grayhairedmom permalink

    Rita and Christine, what do you think of this fix:

    Ex-Chinese-politician’s wife guilty of murder

    Does it work or does it make it worse?

    Like

  4. Rita permalink

    Is the politician no longer Chinese? Or no longer a politician? Or, longest shot of all, is it the wife who is the “ex”?

    Like

    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Ding ding ding, we have a wiiner! Exactly my thought, Rita! I’m guessing he’s still Chinese but no longer a politician. Brava, my dear Rita!

      Like

    • Christine Hepner permalink

      The politician cannot be Ex-Chinese. He’s either chinese or he’s not. If the wife is his ex it should be “The Chinese politician’s ex-wife…”

      Like

      • grayhairedmom permalink

        Brava to you also, Christine. Just a second behind Rita!

        Like

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