This is not a hoax

This was a sad story, I think. But I’m not quite sure, because the headline is so confusing.

After much head-scratching, I believe it’s intended not as a sentence but as a title — like “The Silver Lining” — but with a lot of explanatory words added, which turn the title into a kind of thicket.

Is the lining missing the boy’s dad? Is the lining that’s missing the boy’s dad doing the hoping? Is there a word missing? Is this a crash of typos?

  • It can be complicated to use a word that might be a verb or an adjective — like missing.
  • It can be complicated to use a word that might be a verb or a noun — like hopes. (Or, for that matter, lining — although when lining comes right after silver, most of us will probably read silver lining as a noun.)
  • But it can really be complicated to use a number of multi-use words in the same sentence.
  • And even more complicated in a setting where you don’t know if what you’re reading is going to turn out to be a sentence or not. This headline came from CNN.com, and they go both ways, presenting both sentence-format headlines and title-format headlines, in the same daily string of headlines.

So — stop me if I’m wrong — I think this headline is about a silver lining that a missing boy’s dad is hoping will come after a hoax.

If I’m wrong, please correct me.

If I’m right … Whew!

One thought on “This is not a hoax

  1. And it would be so easy to fix just by changing the word order:

    Missing boy’s dad hopes silver lining comes after hoax

    (If that’s what it means!)

    Like

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