24 April 2006

canes hope maurice gets shot in toronto

This apparently was a headline for a brief time on the Globe and Mail website this morning, and a friend emailed me to let me know. The story was about the likelihood of former Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice being hired on to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. By the time I got there, it had been changed to "Canes hope Maurice gets a shot in Toronto." Seems they'd had to include the indefinite article to avoid a blundered-sounding headline.

Headlines as a rule drop articles, pronouns, and forms of be as either a copula or auxiliary verb. Usually relinquishing a definite or indefinite article has no detrimental effect, unless the result is an independently occurring construction or idiom. In this case, the presence of the article in the expression get a shot (as in, be granted an opportunity to try) is all that distinguishes the structure from the expression get shot (as in suffer a bullet wound). I wonder how many other pairs of expressions or idioms differ only by the presence or absence of an article.


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