How the LAPD took the bang out of its explosion announcement ...

“Our Bomb Squad officers were in the process of seizing over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in the area of 27th Street and San Pedro. Some of the fireworks were being stored in our Bomb Squad trailer as a precautionary measure. Unknown at this time what caused an explosion.”

That was the only tweet from the Los Angeles Police Department’s @LAPDHQ account reporting a June 30 explosion in a residential neighborhood that happened after officers had taken steps to prevent an explosion.

To someone who values transparency and accountability, the LAPD’s announcement is maddening. But to a language geek, it’s also kind of exciting. The tweet illustrates just how powerful syntax can be to shape your message, for good or for ill. Here's my recent column exploring how the LAPD buried the lede and how understanding the grammar of this tweet can help your writing.