Grammar Guru: Which headline makes sense?

Headlines are very challenging to understand, because little words are left out that help you see whether the information words are nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. Often short words are chosen to make sure the headline fits into the space on the page, which means that often less well-known words are used. Also, headlines often use wordplay. So: Which of these headlines makes sense, and is real (from today’s Associated Press)?

  • Obama Benefits Touts of Health Care Bill
  • Obama Touts Benefits of Health Care Bill
  • Bill Benefits Health Care Touts of Obama

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Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

4 thoughts on “Grammar Guru: Which headline makes sense?”

  1. Potential 3rd person verbs in this sentence:
    to benefit (jmdm. zugutekommen)
    to tout (etw. anpreisen)
    Vocabulary tip: to tout benefits (Vorteile anpreisen)

  2. Hi Hassan,
    I have a hard time understanding why it has been so difficult for the richest country on Earth to provide its citizens with functioning health care for everyone. I don’t really care whether the system is state-run or whether it’s subject to market competition. One of my brothers is a doctor in the US and strongly advocates independently run organizations, because state-run institutions tend to use up a lot of money in beaurocracy. That’s one of the reasons conservative Americans go on about “socialized medicine” being evil. But now, finally, everyone will have health care. Let’s see how the new legislation is put into practice.

  3. The final count:
    Obama Touts Benefits of Health Care Bill (87%, 13 Votes) = correct
    Obama Benefits Touts of Health Care Bill (13%, 2 Votes)
    Bill Benefits Health Care Touts of Obama (0%, 0 Votes)
    So the key bit of information to have here was the meaning of the word “touts”!

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