When correct grammar doesn’t help
The Daily Mail got its headline about Etta James’ death spectacularly wrong even though it was right. If you see what I mean.
Here’s the original headline used by the MailOnline:
At Last singer Etta James dies at 73 after battle with leukaemia
Read it and wince. Of course, the headline writer simply meant to highlight At Last, one of the songs most associated with Etta James; the punctuation and grammar are correct. But this is how it can so easily be read:
At last, singer Etta James dies at 73 after battle with leukaemia (‘last’ not capitalised, and followed by a comma).
The MailOnline later changed the headline to read:
Grammy-award winning singer Etta James dies at 73 after battle with leukaemia
(There’s a discussion to be had about whether there should also be a hyphen between ‘award’ and ‘winning’ there, but I’ll not go down that road today.)
And in honour of Etta, here is a Wordwatch first: Etta singing At Last. (Not, Etta singing, at last.)