The Importance of Word Order in Headlines

I was scanning The Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal website when I spotted this little gem:

ImageYou can read the headline and the accompanying article here.

The inference from reading this headline is that the conservationists are saving the farmhouse from the 1850s. What an unhappy word order. Dear me.

I would have much rather read: Preservationists try to save mid-19th Century Homer Glen farmhouse. Doesn’t that read more smoothly? I would have even liked: Preservationists try to save 1850s Homer Glen farmhouse. Also a crisp and clear message. Alas, no such luck. Maybe next time.

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