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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

“That” Versus “Which”

posted by on September 17 at 9:21 AM

Perhaps the latter should have won in this headline.

Thank you, Slog Tipper Matthew.

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I share your editorial geekiness on this issue, David.

Posted by imaginary dana | September 17, 2008 9:27 AM

It took me a few full minutes to get what the headline is trying to say.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | September 17, 2008 9:34 AM

Apparently, at the Sun, God no longer resides in the details.

As of the last round of buyouts, no doubt.

Posted by sw | September 17, 2008 9:35 AM

Everyone knows THAT paralyzed victim probably deserved it.

Posted by DaiBando | September 17, 2008 9:41 AM

Yeah, but then they would've had to add a comma.

How about "Man Sentenced for Victim-Paralyzing Shooting"?

Posted by Levislade | September 17, 2008 9:47 AM

More grammar-blogging at Slog, pleeeeeze!

Posted by Uncle Vinny | September 17, 2008 9:48 AM

Alternatively, "Man sentenced for shooting which paralyzed victim" sounds as if the reader is expected to guess which paralyzed victim was shot.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | September 17, 2008 9:56 AM

Well, it's bad either way, right? Either shooting someone so that they become paralyzed, or shooting someone who is already paralyzed.

Another great headline, right off to the side:

"Teen admits slaying man after watching him kill"

Not a huge grammatical head-scratcher, but WTF-inducing all the same.

Posted by laterite | September 17, 2008 9:57 AM

Let us also lament the demise of The Wire...who will take up the mantle of documenting and dramatizing Baltimore's continual idiosyncracies?

Posted by laterite | September 17, 2008 9:59 AM

Man sentenced for shooting witch paralyzed victim.

Posted by infrequent | September 17, 2008 10:01 AM

"That" is the appropriate choice over "which", unless there was only one shooting in Baltimore.

Posted by Brendan | September 17, 2008 10:13 AM

Could someone dumb this down for me? "That" sounds much better to me, but I'm not great with grammar. The shoot is what paralyzed the victim, and since "the victim" could be considered an essential clause, then "that" is correct. I also understand that a comma almost always goes before "which" as well.

Posted by PJ | September 17, 2008 10:15 AM

@12. I think you're right. But when I first read it I thought it was talking about "that paralyzed man" over there. I was afraid that everyone in Baltimore knew "that paralyzed man" except for me.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | September 17, 2008 10:30 AM

Congratulations, you have been garden path'd :)

Posted by antiuser | September 17, 2008 10:30 AM


I don't agree that "victim" is an essential clause. "Man sentenced for shooting" works fine on its own. And, yeah, if you don't use a comma with "which," the headline is still guffaw worthy.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 17, 2008 10:31 AM

Shooting paralyzed victim, which man was sentenced for.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | September 17, 2008 11:02 AM

Agreed. Now can we get Stranger writers to use "who" and "whom" correctly?

Posted by David Wright | September 17, 2008 11:59 AM

I'd have written it: "Man Sentenced for Shooting, Paralyzing Victim"

Posted by twee | September 17, 2008 12:52 PM

Man Sentenced for Shooting Which Paralyzed Victim?

Posted by kk | September 17, 2008 10:38 PM

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