So I came across this sentence and whats confusing to me is the infinitive in the beginning. I thought the construction was "be to do something" ( "...is to ban...). I have seen similar sentences in the past mostly in headlines so maybe words are left out because the meaning is clear as it is?

  • 2
    This is headlinese. It's a distinctive sentence structure that can at times be very difficult to understand, but often saves space (fewer words). – Era May 11 '16 at 18:18
  • If you go back to the early 20th century, you'll find headlines dropping even the subject of the sentence: "Ban Night Flights in Runway Plan." (Who bans them? Buy the paper to find out!) That particular form of headlinese has thankfully died out, at least around here. Compare the famously terse "slanguage" of Variety: "Stix Nix Hick Pix." – Quuxplusone Oct 15 '20 at 2:39

Yes, headlines leave out some words to save space in publications. The implied headline is something like "Heathrow is going to ban night flights as part of its plan for a third runway"


Heathrow to ban night flights as part of plan for third runway.


Heathrow will ban (is to ban or is going to ban) night flights as part of plan for third runway.

As you can see, not much space is saved if you compare the two sentences. However, using "to infinitive" is broadly used in headlines as it is concise and doesn't cause any confusion. It is a style that many news media use now.

President Obama to Announce Supreme Court Nominee Wednesday Morning.

In the body, the journalist writes

The president will announce his nominee to the Supreme Court at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday...

You will notice that the two sentences mean the same except that the latter has more details.

As @Era commented, the headline doesn't need to follow grammatical rules so strictly, especially the requirement to have a verb in a sentence. A verb could be omitted to save space.


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