Tag Archives: headlines

Prepositional problems

editing

From a  major New England newspaper (OK, from its website): “A man was injured Monday after a crash on I-95”.

Therein is one of those writing errors found far too often in news stories and headlines these days: problematic prepositions.

The man wasn’t injured AFTER the crash, unless by some horrible stroke of bad luck he managed to get out of his mangled car, only to get smacked by another vehicle, or, less dramatically, to trip over a hunk of crash debris.

No, sadly, he was injured IN the crash. “After” implies a delay, and in 99 percent of the stories in which this construction is found, the injury is caused by the accident, not by a subsequent event.

Same thing with “killed”: The victim might have died after the crash, but he probably wasn’t killed after it.

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