Decapitated head near Lyon

You have words - now what do you do with them?
Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 3:54 am

Decapitated head near Lyon

Postby phil3ip » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:16 am

It may be jaded to focus on the language of reporting rather than on the victim, but the expression "decapitated head" is jarring and perhaps completely wrong. The victim was decapitated, his body was decapitated, but the head was severed or separated from the body or perhaps "decorporated" (clearly not idiomatic).

My guess is that reporters on CNN, for example, are using the language unthinkingly and might not ever have been taught correct usage. Yet if this is how respected people are using English in public, this usage is or will unfortunately be accepted as correct in the descriptive sense.

It seems to be part of the general laxness such as using "amount" rather than "number" with count nouns.

Comments? Advice?

Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 3333
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Decapitated head near Lyon

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:05 pm

It's epidemic in some papers. Journalists excuse it against the pressure of deadlines and not having time for careful edits. Yet the text goes through copy editors and at least one additional editor before being printed. In a fast breaking story I can forgive on the spot reporting, but newspapers have at least some time before print journalism happens.

User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 6197
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Decapitated head near Lyon

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:33 pm

It strikes me that whoever wrote and edited this phrase simply were not thinking. It is a logical issue, not a grammatical or lexical one. Maybe there was no dictionary in the office.
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 6324
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Decapitated head near Lyon

Postby Slava » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:35 am

Dictionary? What's that? Sounds rare, like editing.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Return to “Grammar”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests