The use of verbs in newspaper headlines : A case study of two British newspapers

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk och litteratur, SOL

Abstract: This essay deals with verb use in headlines. More specifically, the aim was to see if therewere any differences between two British newspapers in how verbs were used in headlines. Inorder to carry out this study, 100 headlines were collected from each of the newspapers andorganized into groups; headlines that included verbs and headlines that did not. A decisionwas made to only look at two types of verbs; main verbs and auxiliaries.The results showed that The Independent as well as The Sun generally contains verbs. TheIndependent has a slightly higher rate when main verbs and auxiliaries are put together.However, The Sun uses more auxiliaries. Only primary and modal auxiliaries are used in TheSun as well as in The Independent, no semi-auxiliaries were found in any of the newspaperheadlines. Another interesting fact was that The Independent has removed all auxiliaries in theforms of be. Then Sun too seems to prefer headlines without this particular auxiliary but therewere a few headlines which included forms of be.A comparison between the results presented in this study and a study carried out by Mårdhduring the late 1970’s shows similar results. The present study is far more limited in itsmaterial but the parts that could be compared shows that the verb use in newspaper headlineshas not changed much during the past few decades.

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