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I think the five people were killed in the aircraft from this news. The headline is:

Melbourne plane crash: Five killed as aircraft hits shopping centre

Why use active voice rather than passive voice in this news headline?

Is the auxiliary verb dropped in this sentence? Is the full sentence "Five have been killed as aircraft his shopping centre"?

  • 3
    If you're referring to "five killed" (yellow highlighting), it's already in the passive voice. – Lawrence Feb 21 '17 at 4:41
  • 2
    Active would be "crash kills five". – Davo Feb 21 '17 at 4:47
  • Is the auxiliary verb dropped in this sentence? The full sentence: Five have been killed as aircraft his shopping centre. – Cody Feb 21 '17 at 4:50
  • I have no idea why passive voice is not in the form of "[be] + [past participle of verb] " – Cody Feb 21 '17 at 4:53
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    Thank you for sharing these to me. I also found an article about this. – Cody Feb 21 '17 at 5:04

Newspaper headlines are often written in a special style, which is very different from ordinary English. In this style there are special rules of grammar and words are often used in unusual ways.

"Five killed as aircraft hits shopping centre" means Five (people) (have been) killed as an aircraft has hit a shopping centre.

From Michael Swan's Practical English Usage: enter image description here

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Please do not post screenshots. They can't be copied and pasted, they aren't indexed by search engines, and they don't adhere to browser text resizing among other problems. Transcriptions are far preferable, especially because you need to include them for the image alt text in the first place. – choster Feb 21 '17 at 6:27
  • After some deliberation, I've upvoted this answer because Swan does a pretty magnificent job of summarising and explaining how headlinese is used in newspapers. – Mari-Lou A Feb 21 '17 at 10:02
  • BUT choster is absolutely correct when he says screenshots are not searchable, by posting an image instead of transcribing the most relevant sections, this post will not be shown if visitors or users type in the search box: Newspaper, title, passive tense, ellipsis. present perfect – Mari-Lou A Feb 21 '17 at 10:02
  • Just were killed or are killed. – tchrist Feb 21 '17 at 10:06
  • @tchrist five have been killed is perfectly fine, it is grammatical, but I find which follows; ... as an aircraft has hit a shopping centre more worrisome. – Mari-Lou A Feb 21 '17 at 10:08

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