A selection of headlines from stories in the news. They use English in a way that you might think is intended to confuse but it’s all perfectly clear to the native speaker.

This headline belongs to a story in The Sun, about the mayor of  Nottinghamshire borough Rushcliffe, Christine Jeffries, who, during the Christmas light switch-on in West Bridgford, told a crowd of children, many of whom were under 10, that Santa would be too busy to leave them any presents this year, so their mummies and daddies would be helping him out.

The headline plays on the film title “A nightmare before Christmas” by replacing nightmare (a bad dream) with night mayor. In England, a mayor is the head of a town, borough, or county council, usually with purely ceremonial duties: Like switching on Christmas lights.

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