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.
    Example:
    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
      Example:
      Are hotels in shape for games? [TGM]
    • There is some doubt about the truth or accuracy of the story.
      Example:
      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.
    Example:
    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.
    Example:
    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.
    Example:
    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.
    Example:
    An experiment in simplicity
    I WANT A LIFE [NP]

II.The language of newspaper headlines


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

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

  • The simple present tense is used to describe both
    something happening now, and something that happens repeatedly.
    Example:
    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.
    Example:
    Bikers flexing their muscles [GT]

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

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


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

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

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

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


Legend:
[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.