I have recently discovered this beautiful forum to ask my questions as a student learning English as a second language.

Today, I have read a BBC article with the following title: "Spain to allow children outside after six weeks" and I am not sure about the meaning regarding "Spain to allow" as it sounds weird for me as a learner. Does it refer to the future like "Spain is going to allow [...]"?

Furthermore, how can I differentiate when to use the form "to + infinitive" or just the infinitive in a sentence?

Thank you!

Kind regards

  • 3
    Yes, it does mean that; it's what we call headlinese. Headings of news articles generally leave out words like the and is to save space. You would never speak or write like that in any other context. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 11:19
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Meaning of "somebody/something to verb" Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


As pointed out in the comments, this structure is only acceptable in news headlines, where saving space is of more importance than grammar. If you wanted to inform someone of this event through speech, you would NOT say:

"Hey, did you hear that Spain to allow children outside after six weeks?"

As to the meaning, I would say "Spain to allow" is analogous to "Spain will allow" or "Spain has decided to allow". Notice that a verb must follow "Spain" if we want to be grammatically correct. "Spain is going to allow" is also correct, but for me it seems to imply just a hint of skepticism. I might say that if I expected the person I'm talking to to respond with, "I'll believe it when I see it". So personally, I would favor one of the other two interpretations I mentioned.

Basically, just don't take grammar lessons from news headlines. It's a very bad idea. Hope this helps!

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