1

So I've noticed a pattern lately on the TheOnion.com of omitting 'is' from their headlines. I get shortening headlines but I can't say this pattern is familiar to me. It strikes me as obtuse and hard to read.

Here are some links of examples I could drum up. There are many more:

Report: It A Miracle Nothing Has Punctured Your Eye Yet (9-25-2017)

Hope Hicks Praying She Not Still in Same Shitty Job By Time She Hits 30 (9-15-2017)

Man Must Think It Enough to Wear Blackhawks Jersey at Cubs Game (9-12-2017)

Are they just trolling? Is this accepted journalistic style? Is there a name for this?

  • The Onion is satirical. One of the things they satirize is the stupid headlines used in, eg, grocery store checkout rags. – Hot Licks Sep 25 '17 at 20:56
  • 1
    The Onion is a satire site. One of the things they satirize is journalistic style, including headlinese that would probably not appear in a real publication, but are instantly recognizable as such. – choster Sep 25 '17 at 20:58
  • They're satirical but it's still well written and adheres to grammar conventions. If anything the style and linguistic conventions of the site are standard. – amerikashka Sep 25 '17 at 21:12
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth - Ah, so they're responsible for the honey be colony collapse!! – Hot Licks Sep 25 '17 at 21:36
  • 1
    @Hot Licks They'll be sorely missed on ELU: their spelling was legendary. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 25 '17 at 22:01
1

It's standard practice to omit to be from headlines, but what is weird about the Onion is they put a kind of isolated subject in there. normal headlines might be:

*A miracle nothing has punctured your eye yet

*Hope Hicks prays not to be in same job...

*Man thinks wearing Blackhawks jersey to Cuba game acceptable

What that last one shows is that the ugly inclusion of a subject makes for a more flexible sentence structure. Unless there are some terribly written and infamous magazines in the US I think this flexibility rather than parodying bad headline style is the most likely cause.

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.