This will go on your permanent record

Maybe I’m just hyper-sensitive these days about “student records” because my final kid is ramping up to run the college application gauntlet … but it seems to me that this headline invites confusion.

To me, “student records” is a thing.

So a headline that begins with this phrase inclines me to think we’re talking about “student records.”

It’s tricky when you use a word that has two meanings — like “records” — which in fact has not only two meanings but two pronunciations. “WRECK-erds” and “re-CORDS.”

If, in this case, CNN.com had decided to abandon the old-fashioned newspaper-style headline-writing protocol of stating everything in the present tense, they might have rendered this headline in a form more easily and more quickly understood by the common classes, like me — say, perhaps, something like:

A student recorded months of his teacher’s remarks

Note the simple, straightforward use of the past tense, which is when the thing actually happened.

(Using the damnable adjective alleged is a whole ’nuther issue. Let’s take it up later.)

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