Friday, May 27, 2011

Hed salad: Brews fight rules

Today's hed quiz: Who's doing what to whom?

The hed writer's toolbox is full of short, punchy stuff -- "punchy" being the term we use for vivid, slightly downmarket words like "rap," "blast," "slay," "spar," "nab" and "feds" that show up in few places outside of, well, headlines. (The technical grammatical term is "active," meaning a passive verb that native speakers don't use in conversation: "Pair Slain As Eatery Rattled By Knife Spree.") The problem is that quite a few hed words are grammatically ambiguous. Are rules fighting brews, or is a fight brewing over something?

Try not to make readers work too hard on the front page. No telling what sorts of dangers lurk in the inside stories.

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