Headline English

Headline writers try to catch the reader’s eye by using as few words as possible. The language headlines use is, consequently, unusual in a number of ways.

• Grammar words like articles or auxiliary verbs are often left out, e.g. EARLY CUT FORECAST IN INTEREST RATES
• A simple form of the verb is used, e.g. QUEEN OPENS HOSPITAL TODAY
• The infinitive is used to express the fact that something is going to happen in the future, e.g. PRESIDENT TO VISIT MINE

Newspaper headlines use a lot of distinctive vocabulary. They prefer words that are usually shorter and generally sound more dramatic than ordinary English words. The words marked can be used either as nouns or verbs.

Newspaper headlines often use abbreviations, e.g. PM for Prime Minister, MP for Member of Parliament.

Some newspapers also enjoy making jokes in their headlines. They do this by playing with words or punning, e.g. a wet open air concert in London by the opera singer Luciano Pavarotti was described as: