1

I'm a little bit confused with understanding news titles. I recently started to read news in English willing to improve my language skills, but there is one thing that I totally can't understand (and I also hopelessly tried to google it). So, here are some examples:

  • Russia's Head Athletics Coach to Step Down After Doping Revelations
  • Russia to Create Government Job to Fight Doping in Sport
  • Russian Olympic Champion Kaniskina to Quit Executive Role Over Doping Scandal

So what does this mean? And how is this thing called?

  • 2
    Try adding an "is going to" in front of the infinitive: "Russia's Head Athletics Coach is going to step down After Doping Revelations" Headlines try to compress as much meaning into as few words as possible so they are nearly always going to be missing words that would be present in everyday conversation. – Jim Jan 23 '15 at 19:14
  • Probly is expected to Infinitive, it was announced. This is what's used when an official announcement is, um, announced, and there is comment, blowback, or explanation. It's from the construction He is to leave tomorrow, which means 'His departure is scheduled for tomorrow, but he's nevertheless still here'. – John Lawler Jan 23 '15 at 19:20
  • Answered at the 'The form of future implication: to be [. . .]' thread. (1) and (3) above are examples of be-deletion; the terse style used in headlines has been dubbed headlinese. Be-deletion also occurs in (2) (Russia is to Create ...). The second usage is short (but very common) for 'aimed at [fighting]'; elsewhere it could be short for 'in order to'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 23 '15 at 19:43
  • Hi, every so often I go through posts which have "How do you call....?" or "How is/are ______ called?" in their questions or titles. See the discussion in this post: “How do we call (something) in English?” Would you mind editing your body question to What is this thing ....?" Thanks! – Mari-Lou A Apr 13 '16 at 12:37
4

In the days of print media headlines had to be short to fit over the column or columns of text in the article. In order to make them shorter editors often leave out words that most native speakers could intuit from context. So the full headlines for your example would be as follows:

Russia's Head Athletics Coach is About to Step Down After Doping Revelations.

Russia is going to Create a Government Job to Fight Doping in Sport.

Russian Olympic Champion Kaniskina is About to Quit his Executive Role Over the Doping Scandal

There are other potentially correct ways to write the full version but they would have similar meaning.

  • So it usually means just intentions, right? Are there any cases where we should add "have to" or "must"? Or it simply depends on the context of the news? – Kirill Smirnov Jan 23 '15 at 19:17
  • 1
    It always means what will happen, or what is predicted to happen, in the future. – j_random_hacker Jan 23 '15 at 19:30
  • In other words, it's a way of using an untensed infinitive clause to refer to a future event. Replacing to with either modal will or the tensed periphrastic version is going to do not change meaning at all. So this is something of an elliptical future. – tchrist Jan 23 '15 at 22:31
  • "is going to" or "is about to" could also be written "will", but "to" is shorter – Nathan Long Jun 14 '16 at 18:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.