Skip to content


Fox News doesn’t identify error in “I.D.’s”

Apparently Fox News is using “Mother” to mean “huge,” so the headline of this article roughly translates into English as something like this:

Huge California Identification’s Missing Daughter’s Bracelet

How can a California ID be missing a bracelet belonging to that ID’s daughter? I guess that’s why this mystery has yet to be solved.

fox_news_IDs.png (212 KB)

(Thanks, Andrew Gavin!)

Posted in Uncategorized.

Tagged with .

Amy says:

Peter, thanks for explaining the joke – that makes sense now! However, do you mean to say that I.D. isn’t a proper abbreviation of identify? Could you point to a reference that shows that grammar rule? I’ve been searching online and it looks like it’s acceptable. (Here’s one site: http://www.all-acronyms.com/I.D./Identification/979924 )

Most references I’ve found show the abbreviation without periods, so are the periods poor grammar? (I’m going to blame those periods for my confusion earlier in calling it an acronym instead of an abbreviation … although if it is okay to use periods, I think the apostrophe was acceptable.) ;-)

Peter says:

OK. Let me explain the joke. The author is assuming that “mother” is being deployed as an adjective because the use of mother as a noun would not be grammatically proper.
The sentence, assuming the apostrophe is used as “is” and not as a possessive, reads:
California Mother I.D. is Missing Daughter’s Bracelet
If mother was used as a noun in this sentence, it would not be grammatically proper. If mother is used as an adjective (big), the sentence IS grammatically proper, but nonsensical.

The author assumes that the sentence is grammatically proper and therefore, mother is an adjective.

Obviously, Fox News was trying to use “I.D.’s” as short for “identifies,” but apparently that is grammitcally improper as well. I, for one, did not know that.

Grant says:

I’m with Amy. The headline has little to do with size. As I read it, the California mother (female parent) has identified the bracelet that belonged to her missing daughter. Where does size – and for that matter, the military – come in to this?

Jill says:

I’m with you. I read it as California Mother Identifies Missing Daughter’s Bracelet – although I don’t understand why the apostrophe is involved in IDs

Javier says:

Even the military uses “mother” to mean something big:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_of_All_Bombs

Amy says:

I don’t understand why you think Mother means huge here. And, honestly, making acronyms plural is tricky. Looking at the rules on this website (and some others): http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipmar96.htm I don’t think that the headline is wrong. It seems that using an apostrophe is accepted if an acronym is separated by periods.