AP sends clumsily worded tweet about MH17 victims, world reacts

No, the plane didn’t crash.

“This was an especially regrettable lapse that drew wide attention as Dutch families awaited the return of their loved ones’ remains,” AP spokesperson Paul Colford writes in a blog post.

I looked through the AP Stylebook for guidance on compound verbs (i.e., “crash-lands” as opposed to “crash lands”) and came up empty. I’d hyphenate that verb if that was the intended meaning, but the book advises “the fewer hyphens the better; use them only when not using them causes confusion.” It does advise against using “awkward constructions that split infinitive forms of a verb…or compound forms.”

A lot of Twitter hounds suggested a comma (e.g.); that would have split the subject from the verb and been incorrect instead of easy to misread.

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  • Kim Fox

    Hummm, I thought the point would be that the plane did not crash, but was downed or brought down.

  • Glenn Ossiander

    That ever treacherous syntax.

  • paulwiggins

    There was no ambiguity. Our trade is above snark.

  • Will McAvoy

    There’s a really easy answer:
    BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash arrives in Eindhoven