Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

If You Turn the Gun on Yourself, Do You Have to Shoot It?

Posted by Neal on April 21, 2004

I always pause and think for a second when I read or hear news stories that contain sentences like this one:

He killed 3 people before turning the gun on himself.

Those of you who know me personally may be guessing that my reaction is, “I didn’t know you could turn a gun on! I’ve never seen a power switch on one!” Well, you’re right, but that’s not what I want to talk about here. more

One Response to “If You Turn the Gun on Yourself, Do You Have to Shoot It?”

  1. […] “Before killing himself”? I thought. That’s not how they’re supposed to say it! However, I think they only worded it this way because of space constraints. Down in the text of the story, they used the customary phrase for events such as this one: Early yesterday, Brown walked into the Ohio State University building where he’d worked since October and killed his supervisor, shot another boss and then turned the gun on himself. […]

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