Why the verb 'are' is missing in this news headline:

Face Masks Mandatory in All Public Spaces.

Why it is not something like: 'Face Masks Are Mandatory in All Public Spaces'.

I checked by using Google and the 'Face Masks Mandatory in' form is much more common than the 'Face Masks are Mandatory' Why? Where is the verb in this sentence? The word 'mandatory' is an adjective, isn't it?

  • 1
    In titles, we usually omit articles, prepositions and some other words that don't have any meaning on their own.
    – Void
    Nov 11, 2020 at 8:05
  • 2
    This is an example of 'headlinese', which has been discussed many times in this forum. Nov 11, 2020 at 9:01
  • @KateBunting Thank you. I did not know the term 'headlines'. After Eddie edited the post and tagged properly, I realised it is a common practice and it also has its own name. Thanks!
    – 0xFF
    Nov 11, 2020 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


News headlines don't follow strict rules of grammar. They are short, punchy, designed to grab the attention of readers at a glance by just using key words. It is normal and common for headlines to omit verbs and articles.

The same is true of signs and notices. Road signs, for example, are just one or two-word instructions, not complete sentences.

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