How to Make Sense of News Headlines


If one were to pick up any English version of a Vietnamese newspaper they would quickly discover that Vietnamese have no ability whatsoever to write in the English language.

Vietnamese have no concept of tense, word selection, placement of words within a sentence and, as a matter of fact, most of their writing is an insult to English speaking people. Their articles are for the most part incomprehensible.

Voice of Vietnam (VOV), Dantri, Nhan Dan or the Investment Review, for example, hire people to write English articles that have had no formal training of any kind in the English language and their writing is pathetic.

Most of the articles written by the Vietnamese media are an insult to English speaking people and it shows that the media are extremely rude and have utter contempt for the English language and people who speak it.

This article applies to news headlines. It does not apply to magazine articles, for example.

English with Jennifer

I note requests from viewers for future YouTube lessons, and I have a running list of topics I’d like to cover. In a recent poll on my Community Tab, “news headlines” didn’t receive the most votes, but some viewers commented that they’d very much like to understand the grammar used in the titles of online news articles. I hope to make a lesson on this topic in the near future.

Years back, I suggested the idea of having students write full sentences based on news headlines. (See post from 2009.) Doing this together for several headlines would begin to reveal the grammatical patterns. A few online resources, like the Cambridge Dictionary, shed light on those patterns for ELLs. However, the process of building complete sentences would show rules put into action. That process would also reinforce students’ understanding of sentence structure.

One option is to use…

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