Lame Words

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One of the things that I really enjoy about my job is writing headlines…and one of the things that makes me groan is seeing headlines on other news sites (local, national, whatever) that use lame words.

You have my promise that the following words will never appear in any headline that I write: MULL, SEEK, PROBE, EYE. These are not words that people – real people – use in everyday conversation, and they sound un-natural, stilted, and fake.

There are other annoying headline words, but these are the ones that really grate. I’m sure you have a few words that drive you nuts, too.

You also have my word that I will never use the word TO when the word WILL is appropriate, as in the first example below:

“Man behind anti-Islam film to appear in court” becomes “Man behind anti-Islam film will appear in court”

“House probes security shortfalls in Libya” becomes “House investigates security shortfalls in Libya”

“Authorities seek man in girl’s abduction in Cody” becomes “Authorities looking for suspect in Cody girl’s abduction”

“Court mulls where Gadhafi’s son should be tried” becomes “Court considers trial location for Gadhafi’s son”

“Portugal’s government eyes new income taxes” becomes “Portugal’s government considers new income taxes”



  1. EYE Like GreaterFalls on

    You’re right. EYE see what you mean. I SEEK that EYE will try harder TO not use those words again. I will not embarrass myself by MULLing over stuff before I post TO your website. By the way, have EYE told you EYE was abducted by aliens and given the PROBE again? “Will” you forgive me?

    Seriously, there are reasons why your employer’s FaceBook site has Twice as many likes as the other station PLUS the likes of the paper in town.

  2. EYE Still love Greater Falls on

    Dave, You now have me hooked. . .
    While I was waiting to pick up some meds at the CCHD downtown, I was reading the ticker-tape news along the bottom of the LCD panels in the waiting room, and spied these news gems:

    Governments EYE credit cards.
    GOP staffer in fraud PROBE.
    Oil fuels Ohio liquid gold rush.
    North Korea balloons threat.

    So I think you need to add ‘Fuels’ and ‘Balloons’ to your Lame List!

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