Some minutes ago, I've seen news (here on BBC) where the title is:

"Norway to ban full-face veil in nurseries, schools and universities"

I understand that the meaning is "> "Norway is going to ban etc. or "Norway on the way to ban etc. as written in the article by itself: "Norway is proposing a ban on the Muslim full face veil and other face-covering clothing because it says it hinders communication between pupils and teachers."

Now, my question if this omitting is intentionally and this structure of sentence is considered correct in English or maybe it's just a mistake and it's not correct?

Another topics of differences in tenses don't answer my question which deals with structure.

  • 3
    It's not a mistake. It's headlinese English. It's perfectly correct in that realm. Please do not expect newspaper headlines to be exemplars of acceptable usage outside of a journalistic context. Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 22:21
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    I understand. The other question asks about tense, but the accepted answer explains that headlines follow their own rules different from the so-called standard English rules.
    – Em.
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 22:22
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    @GTonyJacobs It is "perfectly correct" headlinese in that it states a prediction. The prediction will not necessarily come true. The headline writer has freedom to sacrifice accuracy for economy.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 22:33
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    Newspapers are a good source of news, and possibly of current idiomatic usage, but not of correct grammar. However, your assumption about editors is naive. An editor's remit is to ensure that the story is told concisely and accurately. Grammar is often a secondary consideration. When it comes to headlines, the objective is to get the gist of the story across in as few words as possible, no matter what outrages are committed against English. Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 23:02
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    @VersatileandAffordable , the reason I was asking for further examples is because I'm claiming that this particular usage is non-standard for headlinese. More examples of headlines using future tense for predictions would show that such usage is more standard than I think it is. Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 1:20

1 Answer 1

  1. The people who write headlines (editors) are not the people who write the stories (reporters).

  2. Headlines are written in headlinese.

  3. Headlines are written to sell papers or to drive advertising revenue up.

  4. Most of the time, editors do not read the articles that the reporters have written. They skim them.

  5. Editors have only so much space to write a headline.

  6. The verb to be is very often sacrificed in headlinese.

  7. The absent verb in this case could be is as in is to ban.

  8. The editor could have been influenced by the headline of an earlier story from the same news service entitled:

Austria to ban full-face veil in public places

  • Regarding to section no.7 "The absent verb in this case could be is as in is to ban.". Do you mean to say that ""Norway is to ban full-face veil in nurseries etc." would be deserved for writing in the report itself? (By the way, you mentioned editor many times while I didn't refer to it in the question even one time. In the comment I mentioned copy editor ("linguistic editor") which his function is "reviewing and correcting written material to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose, and to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition." Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 0:04
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    I'm simply saying that there are many conjugated forms of to be and I offered one that you may not have thought of. I am not saying it accurately describes the news report. Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 0:11
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    This should be required reading for anyone who wants to write a future question about the correctness of headlines on ELL.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 1:58
  • @J.R. And how. It's wikiworthy IMHO, but that's Clare's call. Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 3:20
  • Potential #9: Headlines are often ambiguous or cryptic by design. If the headlines perfectly summarized the articles, people would just read the headlines and skip the articles. Headlines are often intentionally ambiguous or cryptic to attract eyeballs but encourage reading of the article to understand the actual story.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 6:26

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