Newspaper headlines

I. The different types of newspaper headlines

  • Straight headlines
    They simply relate the main topic of the story. They are
    the most common types of headlines and are the easiest to understand.
    Chechen grave points to Russian atrocities [TGM]

  • Headlines that ask a question
    Most question headlines are not really typical
    questions at all. They are statements followed by a
    question mark. These question marks are used when:
    • The headline reports a future possibility
      Are hotels in shape for games? [TGM]
    • There is some doubt about the truth or accuracy of the story.
      Hidden Treasures In Your safe-Deposit Box? [TGM]

  • Headlines that contain a quotation
    A quoted speech is used in headlines.
    Itís another way to begin a story with an unproven statement.
    Mounties shot in Arctic Ďhad no enemies at allí [TGM]
    Quotation marks are used also to show a word is being used outside
    its normal meaning.
    Microsoft service divulges e-mail addresses unless patrons Ďopt outí [TGM]

  • Feature headlines
    Headlines for some unusual or amusing stories donít give
    a complete meaning. Itís often necessary to read the story to
    understand the headline.
    Two shot dead at U.S. school [TGM]

  • Double headlines
    They are two-part headlines of the same story. They are often
    used for major events.
    An experiment in simplicity

II.The language of newspaper headlines

  • Headlines are almost always in the simple present tense.
    Landry sways his party [GT]

  • The simple present tense is used to describe something
    happening in the present or in the past.
    Continent fears outbreaks [GT]

  • The simple present tense is used to describe both
    something happening now, and something that happens repeatedly.
    Nasdaq tumbles on recession fears [NP]

  • The present continuous is sometimes used, mostly to give
    the meaning of something that is developing. The auxiliary is/are
    is omitted.
    Bikers flexing their muscles [GT]

  • The auxiliaries: is/was/are/were and has/have/had are
    often omitted.
    Microcell cutting Fido rates [TGM]

  • The infinitive is used to refer to the future.
    Liberals to spend $700-million on research and development
    projects [TGM]

  • Articles and conjunctions are often omitted.
    Investors snap up JDS, Nortel [TGM]

  • In passive forms, the auxiliary is omitted and only the
    past participle is used.
    Race marshal killed in Villeneuve crash [TG]

  • A series of nouns used as adjectives is often blocked
    together without any verbs or conjunctions.
    Electoral popularity key consideration [TG]

  • Acronyms and abbreviations are often used in headlines.
    IOC comes calling, but hero athletes on road [TGM]

[TGM] stands for: The Globe and Mail, March 6, 2001
[NP]  stands for: National Post, February 28, 2001
[TG] stands for: The Gazette, March 4, 2001

Abder. Ajaja - © - All rights reserved 2002.