HEADLINE: The title of a newspaper article

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A part of series on English grammar...

It is the name given to the title of a newspaper article. Headlines are short partly because of shortage of space and partly to capture the attention of the would-be-reader.

In order to achieve this objective, the definite and indefinite articles and other minor words tend to be omitted, the future tense represented by a to-infinitive, as in ‘Feul prices to rise’, and the present tense used for past events as in ‘Man kills wife over minor dispute’.


Headline language, particularly that of tabloid newspapers which has to be especially succinct and eye-catching, can have an effect on the general language. Expressions like ‘tug-of-love’ describing the state of a child whose custody is bitterly fought over by both parents, ‘killing spree’ describing someone who loses control and kills usually by shooting etc are typical headline language.

The language and style of headlines is typically known as headlinese.




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