There are two types of headlines. Most news stories in the Bangkok Post use sentence headlines although they may be shortened by omitting certain words as you will see later. Many feature stories and some very short news stories use phrase headlines or titles which leave out the verb. Here are some examples of both:
Police rescue 12 divers as launch sinks off Phi Phi
Pen manufacturers still see good future for luxury pens
Getting in touch with the spirits
Heroism and cowardice at the “Top of the World”
Reward for tracing suspect
The grammar of sentence headlines
Almost all sentence headlines in the Bangkok Post use the
present tense—despite the fact that they generally describe past events. The present tense gives
the subject a sense of freshness and immediacy, making it more interesting to read.
Headlines pack a great deal of information into a limited space, so it is not surprising that
Bangkok Post headline writers use several methods to conserve space. One obvious example is to
use abbreviations (“PM” for “Prime Minister”, etc.). But they also use a special grammar,
omitting articles (“a” and “the”) and the verb “to be” wherever possible.
Cooperation agreement signed
(A cooperation agreement is signed)
Australian ex-judge sworn in to represent UK queen queen)
(An Australian ex-judge is sworn in to represent the United Kingdom
Be sure to notice that the omission of the verb “to be” can make the headline appear to be in the
past tense when it is actually present tense, passive voice.
Another way to conserve space in headlines is to use short words instead
of long ones. In the example below notice the various ways the headline writer can shorten the
headline “MP criticises dishonest election plan”.
The Bangkok Post uses about one hundred easily-learned short words in its news
headlines. Here are a few of the most common.
|row||quarrel or disagreement|
The opening paragraph of the news story is known as the lead. It, too, has a distinctive style. Click for a detailed look at The lead.