Headline was ambiguous, but not incorrect

YOUR Thabo Leshilo (Sowetan, November 13) is wrong to declare that your headline "Cops shoot dead toddler" on Tuesday, November 10 was incorrect. At worst, the context was ambiguous, but certainly not wrong.

Leshilo's quibble with the use of the word "dead" is rather specious and the adjectival sense he imputes is far-fetched.

The verb "to shoot" is transitive and can be used correctly as in, for example, this order to an unwelcome intruder: "Get out, otherwise I'll shoot you dead!" Or even: "The police shot him dead" and "he was shot dead".

Leshilo's Andre van der Spuy may be head of linguistics at Wits, but that does not make him an expert grammarian.

Jon Qwelane, Boksburg