Headlinese

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Headlinese is an abbreviated form of news writing style used in newspaper headlines. Because space is limited, headlines are written in a compressed telegraphic style, using special syntactic conventions, including:

  • Forms of the verb "to be" and articles (a, an, the) are usually omitted.
  • Most verbs are in the simple present tense, e.g. "Governor signs bill", while the future is expressed by an infinitive, with to followed by a verb, as in "Governor to sign bill".

Interactive Exercises

Transformation

'Rewrite the headlines so that they are easier to understand.

1. BOY FOUND SAFE .

   The missing boy has been found () safe now.

2. BOY FINDS SAFE .

    A boy found () a safe two days ago.

3. PRESIDENT ATTACKED

    The president has been attacked () by his critics for his plans.

4. PRESIDENT ATTACKS CRITICS

    Yesterday the president attacked () critics.

Transformation

Rewrite the headlines so that they are easier to understand

1. 20 KILLED EVERY DAY ON BRITAIN'S ROADS .

   Twenty people are killed () on the roads in Britain every day.

2.NEWPORT'S OLDEST HOUSE SOLD TO NEW YORK MAN LAST YEAR .

    The oldest house in Newport was sold () to a man from New York last year.

3.EURO CHAMPIONSHIPS HELD IN LONDON NEXT YEAR?

    Will the Euro Championship be held () in London next year?

4. CLERK SHOT IN BANK RAID YESTERDAY

   A bank clerk was shot() in a bank raid yesterday.

The following are actual excerpts from classified sections of American newspapers

Illiterate? Write today for free help.

Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery.
Try us once, you'll never go anywhere again.

Our experienced Mom will care for your child.
Fenced yard, meals, and smacks included.

Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.

Stock up and save. Limit: one

Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale.

3-year old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred.

Girl wanted to assist magician in cutting-off-head illusion.

Dinner Special -- Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00

For sale: antique desk suitable for lady
with thick legs and large drawers.

Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.

We do not tear your clothing with machinery.
We do it carefully by hand.

Toaster: A gift that every member of the family appreciates.
Automatically burns toast.

Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated. Come here first.

Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.

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