Backwards Headline



  • I had to do a double-take on this headline. I had heard the news story on the radio, so I knew what it was about. Ironically, the headline can be taken to mean what it is intended to mean, or its exact opposite. The web site has it exactly the same way.


     I can read this two different ways:

    • Walk to bus <pause> stops growing
    • Walk to bus stops <pause> growing
    The second is what they meant. The first is essentially the opposite. Very cool. 



  •  Not saying this is the case here, but newspapers sometimes do this kind of thing on purpose to attract attention. They make the headlines ambigious to get you interested and read the story.



  • The story is about how bus stops are getting bigger, right?



  • That's exactly why we concatenate nouns over here.



  • @rbowes said:

    The story is about how bus stops are getting bigger, right?

     

    No, it's about how we are getting taller as a people.



  •  @Terry Pratchett said:

    "Patrician attacks Clerk with Knife! (He had the Knife, not the Clerk.)"

     

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @rbowes said:

    The story is about how bus stops are getting bigger, right?

     

    No, it's about how we are getting taller as a people.

    I thought its about how kids end up being midgets by walking to the bus...


  • @dysmas said:

     @Terry Pratchett said:

    "Patrician attacks Clerk with Knife! (He had the Knife, not the Clerk.)"

    I always personally liked the description of a panda: "Eats shoots and leaves"



  •  "He shot a crackhead with a kalashnikov"



  •  Did ya hear the one about the guy who shot his neighbor with a shovel?



  • @Faxmachinen said:

    That's exactly why we concatenate nouns over here.

     

    Still we get stuff like "The police was cought by the cycle thief"... (a German magazine has a section called "Hohlspiegel" especially for stuff like this)



  • This, gentlemen, is called ambiguity, syntactic ambiguity in this case. Ambiguity is a most pervasive phenomenon in natural language yet we hardly ever noticed it. E.g., you probably missed the fact that "Walk" can also be an imperative ("You have to walk") as in "Walk to bus stops smiling". Syntactically perfectly well-formed, semantically a bit stretched. In my line of work, this doesn't even deserve a mug.



  • This is one reason to use a hyphen. "Walk to bus-stops growing" is unambiguous and it took only one piece of punctuation. Imagine that, punctuation has a use.



  • @rbowes said:

    The story is about how bus stops are getting bigger, right?

    Nope, it's obviously about some confused reporter who made a story about a role-playing convention... and starts the story with an amusing anecdote about the noisy convention environment; he seriously misheard the phrase "Walktapus stops growing", leading to hilarity.



  • @chishm said:

    This is one reason to use a hyphen. "Walk to bus-stops growing" is unambiguous and it took only one piece of punctuation. Imagine that, punctuation has a use.

     

    although, as someone already pointed out, that could still mean:  "You, walk to the bus-stop while growing."



  •  @tster said:

    @chishm said:
    This is one reason to use a hyphen. "Walk to bus-stops growing" is unambiguous and it took only one piece of punctuation. Imagine that, punctuation has a use.

    although, as someone already pointed out, that could still mean:  "You, walk to the bus-stop while growing."
    Yet another possibility, "Walk-to bus-stops growing."  Meaning stops on the side of the road, as opposed to something like a depot.


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