We have the following headline:

Trump Calls Quits On Paris Climate Deal

What part of speech is 'quits'? Is it a verb or noun?
What are the words left out and what is the grammar in general behind this?

  • M-W and most other dictionaries list the word specifically. Jun 7, 2017 at 17:54
  • It's "headlinese" (missing out the word it). Compare call it a day. Jun 7, 2017 at 18:32
  • It's a mistake; the idiom has to be calls it quits. They should have written: leaves
    – Lambie
    Jun 7, 2017 at 18:43
  • 1
    There is no grammar behind headlines other than using the fewest words to convey the barest sense of what the article is about to the target audience. Don't get hung up on headline grammar.
    – Rob K
    Jun 7, 2017 at 20:06
  • 1
    @Lambie - It looks fine to me – for a headline. This is not the first time that this shortcut has been taken.
    – J.R.
    Jun 7, 2017 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


In your example of headlinese

Trump Calls Quits On Paris Climate Deal

"quits" is an adjective, and the missing bits are

Trump Calls (It) Quits On (The) Paris Climate Deal

  • 1
    Yes, and it really should be: call it quits or leaves. Calls quits is really not acceptable, even in a headline. It sounds awful.
    – Lambie
    Jun 7, 2017 at 18:31
  • @Lambie, "quits" is more inflammatory than "leaves", which attracts more eyeballs. The objective is to sell papers or attract views--clickbait.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 7, 2017 at 20:23
  • Note also that in headlinese, the past tense is written as simple present tense (this headline isn't saying that Trump is in the process of "calling it quits" but that he already did so). Even more bizarrely, future tense is written as a simple infinitive (i.e. "[subject] to [verb] [object]"). Overall, headline grammar is quite atypical of English.
    – Kevin
    Jun 7, 2017 at 20:37

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