Saturday, January 19, 2013


This headline (Straits Times, 27 August 2012) caused much hilarity when it appeared, and rightly so. The intended meaning was, of course, that 40% of each cohort would get a chance to enter a local university, but apparently more people misintrepreted it to mean the 40% would be shot.

The intended meaning has shot as a noun, with an omitted indefinite article, a, while the unintended meaning is an example of a get-passive, where shot is a verb.

There is actually nothing wrong grammatically with the headline — function words are very often omitted in headlines because the reader can mentally fill them in. In this case, however, it was unfortunate because the omission of the article a led readers to interpret get shot as a passive verb group.

1 comment:

RSS Lee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.