I saw this headline today, "Neil Young to open up entire online music archive for free".

Is that sentence correct, and if so, could it have multiple meanings?

In this instance it's clear to me what it means, but couldn't it be misunderstood in other examples?

To me it could maybe be confused as him commenting on opening up his music archive for free.

  • 2
    For the record, that isn't a sentence in the normal sense of that term, where there's a subject governing a finite verb. Here the subject is governing a non-finite verb, specifically one in the infinitive.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 14:50
  • I don't see any ambiguity here: could you explain how it might be misunderstood?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 15:22
  • It is a headline. Not a sentence. If you think other examples may be misunderstood, why not give us such an example?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 15:25
  • Well, it's kinda the "to" that i find odd. Another example could be if there stood: "Peter Petersen to open up the Shibu Resturant." I wouldn't know if that was an interview with a guy, talking about having opened up a resturant with that name. Or if he is about to do so.
    – Myno
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 15:48
  • @Myno Again, this is commonplace headlinese; to X means will X (as a shortening of is to X) for brevity. See past questions tagged as headline-english or this Andy Bodle column if you are unfamiliar with the concept.
    – choster
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


headlines do not follow the same grammatical structure as a proper sentence. most editors use the guidelines in the Chicago Book of Rules. as a complete sentence, it is incomplete. as a headline, it is correct. sentence structure has devolved due to texting so many people communicate in phrases rather than full sentences. any true sentence can be conjugated. that is how you know. conjugate the words to see if they fit the grammatical rule. i see online translators. i wonder if they have online conjugators? as it things aren't screwed up enough...haha... hope that helps.

  • 1
    Do you have something against the rule of capitalising the first letter of a sentence ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 23:50
  • 1
    I'm struggling with the implication that the structure of newspaper headlines is somehow caused by the advent of texting. Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 10:00

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