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For instance, in a sentence such as this:

Joe Biden headed for the White House on Monday for a meeting with Kamala Harris.

What would the correct form be — Joe Biden was headed or Joe Biden headed?

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2 Answers 2

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Joe Biden headed towards the White House...

This is the past tense. You use it to describe an action that occurred in the past.

Joe Biden is headed towards the White House

This is the passive voice in the present tense. It means the same as

Someone heads Joe Biden towards the White House

Joe Biden was headed towards the White House

This is the passive voice in the past tense. It means

Someone headed Joe Biden towards the White House.

Note, the passive voice forms mean that someone did it to Joe Biden,

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  • a misspelling, fixed.
    – James K
    Dec 8, 2022 at 19:35
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  • Joe Biden [is] headed for the White House on Monday for a meeting with Kamala Harris. (correct form)

This is journalistic style; it allows for the omission of the help verb in titles.

(MacMillan) be heading​/​headed for somethingbe heading​/​headed for something

if you are heading or headed for something, it is likely to happen to you soon

• It appears that the rebels are heading for victory.

As a title in a newspaper this sentence means that Joe Biden will go to the White House on the coming Monday so as to meet with Kamala Harris (on that same day).

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    I don't see any indication in the question that this is a headline.
    – stangdon
    Aug 19, 2022 at 15:07
  • @stangdon There isn't any explicit indication, true; but you can't omit the help verb in any other case either.
    – LPH
    Aug 19, 2022 at 18:16
  • There is no help verb to omit. As James says in another answer headed is simple past, not pp.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 8, 2022 at 20:11

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