I want to create a news title for the following sentence:

A local police officer hit by a male driver who's a university student on traffic stop

What I'm struggle at is how to properly shorten the phrase "a male driver who's a university student". My first attempt "male university driver" doesn't sound natural and I couldn't find any sentence with such phrasing on Google.

  • 1
    Why do you need to put all this into the title? Why not cut out as much as possible and put it into the body of the article? Eg "Police officer hit by student" or "Police officer hit during traffic stop" You'll get a better title if you move details from the title to the body.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 20 at 14:35
  • @JamesK I was actually translating from a non-English article to English and trying minimize information loss as much as possible.
    – Tran Khanh
    Commented Jan 20 at 16:18
  • You don't lose information if you preserve it in the body. I'll write some kind of answer.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 20 at 17:35
  • That's not a sentence. There is no main verb. "Hit" in this context is a past participle. "Who's" is a contraction of "who is", but it's in a subordinate clause. Commented Jan 21 at 2:01

3 Answers 3


This is the title I would use, phrased correctly for titles of articles (former proofreader and copy editor here...):

Local police office hit by university student on traffic stop

although this could be taken to mean that the university student was on a traffic stop. I think the more appropriate preposition would be "during" rather than "on," provided that the officer had made the traffic stop and was then assaulted by the student.

I'm not sure why the person's sex is important, so I omitted it, but you could say "male university student" if you felt it was important.

  • University student sounds more natural, however I'm wondering if that phrasing could create confusion as to the policeman was hit by a weapon rather than a car?
    – Tran Khanh
    Commented Jan 19 at 6:53
  • 1
    In the context of a traffic stop "hit" strongly implies they were hit by a car, as "hit" is the most common way to describe being impacted by a car, but not a common way to describe being hit in other ways, at least not without more detail. If they were hit by a weapon I would expect a headline to read "officer assaulted by..." or "officer attacked by...". If "hit" was used for anything other than a car I'd expect more information, like "officer hit by falling branch..." or "officer hit by student wielding a baseball bat". Commented Jan 19 at 9:20

I think you are trying to put too many details in the title. You are trying to say these things

  1. The man was a policeman
  2. He was local.
  3. He was hit.
  4. The person who hit him was male
  5. The person who hit him was driving a car
  6. The person who hit him was a student
  7. The student attends university
  8. The incident happened during a traffic stop.

I count 8 separate details! And that is too many.

So move the details to the body of the article and write a much shorter headline

Police Officer Hit by Student

At least omit "driver", that's suggested by "traffic stop"

Local police officer hit during a traffic stop by a male university student.


University student runs over police officer

Dynamic and pity headline.

The essential information is all there. Presumably, your average reader will assume the driver and police officer are both male because if either one was a female that would be more newsworthy. An injured female police officer would elicit more sympathy.

That the incident happened on a traffic stop would obviously be mentioned in the report's body.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .