Friday, January 14, 2011

At least it wasn't the dingoes

Today's top headline comes from the BBC, and for fullest reading pleasure you need the caption from the full story too:

Mr Solomon and county officials disputed whether the culprit was a rat or mouse

Again, proper use of the claim quotes could have elevated this from a very, very good hed to one for the ages. (Hat tip to Ed and Picky for checking in last week on the art of the claim quote.) Both parties seem to agree that the case involves a rodent and a penis; in dispute is whether B was bitten or merely scratched by A. Thus the most appropriate way to set off the assertion would be:

Rodent penis 'bite' man may sue

And now back to breakfast!



Anonymous Ed Latham said...

Indeed! Although with building blocks like that, how could you fail? For extra credit, there's the prison angle- looks like there's space for PENIS 'RAT BITE' JAIL MAN MAY SUE, which would improve the search engine optimisation still further.

11:57 AM, January 14, 2011  
Anonymous Picky said...

Oh dear, for here I must disagree. Yes, "bite" is the disputed element. But it isn't unfair to say that "rodent penis bite" is the disputed element, as opposed to "rodent penis scratch" or whatever. I see nothing wrong with claim quoting the NP including the modifiers.

Fancy stuff, this, isn't it?

2:21 PM, January 14, 2011  
Anonymous Ed Latham said...

On further review, I take that point - there probably is room for flexibility in this case (although if you've hit on the inspired idea of using 'rodent' to define the common ground, it's a shame to then put quotes around it.) The danger point really comes when quotes are deployed simply to hold a noun phrase together rather than indicate a point of contention.

5:30 PM, January 14, 2011  
Anonymous Picky said...

I agree - that's where the rest break head went adrift.

3:30 AM, January 15, 2011  

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