What are the linguistic characteristics of English newspaper headlines?

their grammar and vocabulary

Expert Answers

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Normally, headline writers follow the basics below:

1.  They omit articles (a, an, the) in order to save space but also to attract the reader's attention to the most significant words.

2. Headlines use strong active verbs, avoiding "be" verbs and passive voice which slow down fluidity and again take up too much space with very little substance.  An example is: "Man Awakens To Horrific Smell!"  instead of, "A man is awakened by a horrific smell!"

3.  Unusual Capitalization--normally each word in a headline is capitalized (sometimes the headline is even in all caps).  So, even though Standard English does not call for the capitalization of prepositions in titles, headlines capitalize them for uniformity purposes.

4.  Many times, headlines omit end punctuation or punctuation of any kind.

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