One Missing Comma

Current headline on CNN.com:

Surgery for girl with eight limbs is going smoothly doctors say

Just a typo on an online news site?

Or is it representative of a growing laziness in proofreading?

It’s been up there for more than an hour, and nobody has done anything….

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11 responses to “One Missing Comma

  1. Headline writers are famous for this sort of thing. If it’s not a crucial, but missing, comma, it’s unfortunate word order. One of my all-time favorites is:

    “Stolen Painting Found by Tree”
    Right on, crime-fighting tree!

    But wait, there’s more. These are all actual headlines. I swear.

    “Prostitutes Appeal to Pope”
    Uhhh … DON’T go there!

    “Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter”
    I’ve been in some slo-o-o-ow checkout lines, but this is ridiculous…

    “Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead”
    Well, DUH!!!

  2. It must be me, but I don’t get it!

    “Surgery for girl with eight limbs is going smoothly doctors say”

    I’m normally good with this kinda stuff, but where does the comma go?

  3. After “smoothly.” :-)

  4. “updated 18 minutes ago Indian girl has extra limbs removed”

    Maybe CNN reads your blog, Kate.

    ;-)

  5. … or maybe not. The old headline’s still there, linked from the updated story.

    :-(

  6. What? Sort of like the typo in your blog masthead (well placed instead of well-placed) that’s been there forever?

  7. Sadly, journalists are becoming the biggest offenders. One of the more annoying trends is the unpunctuated, all-caps headline tickers.

  8. Journalists don’t write their own headlines. Headline writers write headlines.

  9. (well placed instead of well-placed)”

    Oh, snap.

  10. Furpurrson, I love those!

    And as for the header, I have some stuff to say about that….after the holidays!

  11. Dear Ms. Grammar Vandal,

    Many year ago when I was in high school, my English teacher wanted us to understand just how important the comma can be. She told our class the story about the telegraph message which was sent by the Czar of Russia authorizing an execution. But a clerk was able to change this authorization by the simple insertion (or deletion) of a comma.

    Have ever run into this story?

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