If you can’t understand newspaper headlines, it may be because of their unique grammar. Or it may be because you’ve found a crash blossom. The term derives from this headline:
Violinist linked to crash blossoms
It is possible to read this and wonder: What on earth is a crash blossom?
|Violinist||[is] linked to||crash blossoms|
|noun||verb + preposition||noun phrase|
In fact, the story is about a violinist whose career has blossomed (i.e. flourished) since the death of her father in a plane crash. The word blossoms is a verb here, not a noun:
|Violinist||[who is] linked to crash||blossoms|
Can you spot the problem in each of these headlines?
- McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers
- Fossil Yields Surprise Kin of Crocodiles
- British Push Bottles Up German Rear [a war news story]
- Google Fans Phone Expectations by Scheduling Android Event
- British Left Waffles on Falklands
- Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts
- Republicans Look to Safety Net Programs as Deficit Balloons
- Queen Mother tried to help abuse girl
The confusion in all of these is about whether certain words are nouns or verbs.