Mighty Red Pen

February 3, 2009

When headlines attack

Filed under: Overseen,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 8:05 pm
Tags: , ,

The headline for this AP article didn’t turn out to be what, at first glance, I thought it was:


The article is about the divorce of Julie and Hillary Goodridge, one of the couples whose lawsuit (Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health) led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

When I first saw the headline, I thought it meant, “the couple is fighting to get a divorce.” In fact, it meant “the couple that led the fight for gay marriage will divorce.” Not any acrimonious, mud-slinging event. Just a small reminder that word choice and order can be very, very important.


Update 2/4:  Here’s another that appeared on boston.com.


Wow, those girls from Needham really have it in for the Charles River otters!


1 Comment »

  1. A hyphen, which no one seems to want to use anymore, would have done wonders for that headline:

    Mass. couple who led gay-marriage fight to divorce

    Comment by craiglancaster — February 5, 2009 @ 1:10 am | Reply

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