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I was wondering what this sentence (Singapore to shut down 2G network) means:

bbc news

I assume what it means but I want to know exactly what it means . I've never seen such structure of a sentence.

  • It's a title that says that Singapore is thinking of shutting down the 2G network! – SovereignSun Dec 9 '16 at 13:39
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    I put together some common patterns used in "headlinese" once in an old answer, here: ell.stackexchange.com/a/17710/3281. The case similar to your example is explained in the third bullet point. – Damkerng T. Dec 9 '16 at 13:43
  • @DamkerngT. That answer is very useful. I should've known it earlier. – user178049 Dec 9 '16 at 14:21
  • Second what Damkerng T. said. When you read newspapers or other media sources you'll see "shortened" versions of sentences that remove smaller, less-important words. In the beginning this was to save space but now it also helps make the headline sound more dramatic. – Andrew Dec 9 '16 at 15:09
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Don't feel too confused. It's not a sentence that can be fully understood without more world-knowledge than we have.

There's something called a "2G network" that Singapore controls in some way, whether because the city-state is the entity running it, or it's being run within Singapore's jurisdiction. And Singapore officials are going to shut it down for some reason we're not told. Whether the "2G" stands for "second-generation", "two gigabits per second", or something else is another thing we're not told, but presumably many Singaporeans are not so ignorant as we.

The structure is what's generally called "telegraphic" because messages sent by telegraph were charged for by the word (I think they still are, even though they're no longer sent by actual Morse-code telegraphy). So unnecessary words were omitted to reduce the total cost: "Singapore [intends] to shut down [the/its/...] 2G network"

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    "2G" is a catch-all for 2nd generation wireless telegraphy standards. A 2G network is a telephone network that supports one of the 2G standards for transmitting information, such as GSM. – LMS Jan 8 '17 at 18:36
  • Thanks! I thought it might be, but of course couldn't feel sure. – MMacD Jan 8 '17 at 20:16

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