Questions in headlines? That’s a no

You may not know it by name, but you may be applying Betteridge’s Law without realising.

Put simply, it states that any headline that’s a yes/no question can in fact be answered ‘no’.

Do aliens cause cancer? Will Facebook buy IBM? Does eating apples give you superpowers?

It makes a lot of sense. If the story actually was correct, then the journalist or headline writer wouldn’t need a question mark – therefore, you can safely assume that whatever is being discussed is not actually true or accurate.

When you think about it, it seems almost a truism, but it’s a big time saver in scanning the news. And as a writer, make sure you don’t write a headline that readers will see as following Betteridge’s Law – because they’ll simply assume a ‘no’, and skip your article.

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply