English by Newspaper
‘The day of the printed word is far from ended. ’that statement is as true today as it was when made by Erwin Canham.In fact,there may be even more printed words around today than ever before. Many people just may be reading or seeing them in new and different sources such as web pages on the internet and electronic mail.
A reporter today must have a far broader perspective than ever before. News writing follows all the accepted rules of English grammer,sentence stucture,spelling and punctuation.Yet it differs in many ways from other forms of writing.It strives for certain qualities of
style:simplicity,conciseness,vividness,directress,clarity,brevity and accuracy.
The news paragraph rarely should exceed 50 words and should be broken up into two or more sentence,if possible.Thirty to 40 words often makes a well-proportioned paragraph.
We have learned the language change from the textbook "A NEW CONCISE COURSE ON LINGUISTICS FOR STUDENTS OF ENGLISH".Similary ,Newpaper English also should adhere the principle of the language change. Here are some general principle of news style.
a .Use of abbreriation and acronyms
1.2nd fl flt mod blk close west end with 2 dble recep.It means"a second floor flat in a modern block close to west and with 2 double reception rooms.
2. Months of the year of more than five letters when the day of the month is given:
Nov.24 the last week in January March 21
3.Times of the day,as'6P.M.'
4.Names of states only when they follow names of cities or countries: Blankville, Ark. a town in Arkansas
5.Familar college degrees,as B.A.,Ph.D.,M.D.
6'MR','MRS','DR','the Rev','Prof.','Gov.''Gen'and so on when they precede the name of a person.
7.'Saint'and'mount'only when preceding names:
St.Louis Mt.Mc Kinley
8.'Sr','Jr'following proper names.
9.Titles of pubic and private organizations that are well known by the readers after such titles have been used once in spelled out form: FBI SEC CIO YMCA UCLA
Do not abbreviate
2.percent as'%',except in tabulation.
3.Names of persons.
4.Points of the compass.
5.Names of cities or countries.
6.Days of the week.
7.'And 'as'&',unless it is part of a formal name of a firm. b.Preference of short words
1.Eliminate unnecessary articles
‘The club members attended the meeting.’shoule be:’Club members attended the meetong.’
‘He returned a part of the money’shoule be:’ He returned part of the money’
(However,only unnecessary articles should be eliminated. For example,the article in ‘club member attended the meeting.’shoule not be eliminated. The same applies to’a’ and ‘an’)
2. .Eliminate circuitous verb forms
‘The group will hold a meeting.’should be’ The group will meet’.
‘The judge arrived at a decision.’should be’ The judge decided’
3. Eliminate adjectives,adverbs,prepositions
“Both cars were completely destroyed’should be’ Both cars were destroyed’
‘A tall 18-story building’should be’ An 18-story building’.
‘He stepped off of the train.’should be’ He stepped off of train’.
‘The club will meet on Friday.’should be’ The club will meet Friday.’
4. Eliminate connectives
‘He said that he would go’should be ‘He said he would go’
(However,when two or more’that’clauses follow a verb,the conjunction should be usec with all clauses for purposes of clarity.) 5. Eliminate well-known place names
‘He came from Chicago,Ill.’should be‘He came from Chicago’.
‘The accident occurred at the corner of Vine and Maple street.’should be’The accident occurred at Vine and Maple’.
‘The debate lasted for a period of two hours.’ Should be The debate lasted two hours.’
7. Eliminate clauses
‘All who are interested can vote.’ Should be‘All can vote.’
‘The drought that occurred last summer.’should be‘Last summer’s
‘Past experience had taught him the way.’should be‘Experience had
taught him the way.’
c.Use simple,accurate,and vivid words
1.Short words are usually best.The newspaper is written to be read
hurriedly by persons of all levels of intellect. USE RATHER THAN
Fire holocaust,conflagration Died passed away,deceased Man gentleman
2.Superlatives are usually inaccurate.There are few ‘catastrophes’’panics’and’fiascos
More accurate Less accurate
A beautiful woman the most beautiful woman An exciting game the most exciting game
Probably true absolutely true
Escape miraculous escape
Improper: The decision was unjust.
Proper: The attorney general said the decision was unjust. Improper: The prisoner lost his temper.
Proper: The prisoner kicked the chair over.
Improper: The witness lied.
Proper: The prosecuting attorney said the witness lied. Improper: He committed suicide by jumping from the window. Proper: He was killed in a fall from the window, and the corneo ruled it a suicide.
Improper: Little Johnny B;ack,6-year-old darling son of Mr. and Mrs.WR.Black,died today.
Proper: Johnny Black,6,died today.He was the son of Mr. and Mrs,WR. Black. Improper: The young lady will win the hearts of all visitors when she begins serving as hostess at the chamber of commerce next week. Proper: The young woman will begin serving as hostess at the chamber of commerce next week.
Improper: The judge told me the case was dismissed.
Proper: The judge said the case was dismissed.
In newspaper English, people prefer to use rhetorical features like alliterical,rhyme,euphemism and so on. Newspaper English attach more importance on the rhetorical, that some news need to be over-stated while some need to be understated .The Bush’s government use the word ’regime
change’ to state their policies to overthrow the Iraq’s government,
instead of using ’overthrow’ or ‘topple’.
A critic pointed that if you have the chance to work in the white house
for a year, then you will be more professional than the graduates from
the English major of famous college.
The following are some good examples of using euphemism to express the
word like ’poor’ ‘the old’ ‘dismiss/sack/fire’ without affence.
1. the poor
the culturally disadvantaged
the culturally deprived
The graying army
The senior citizens
The gray hair
The seasoned men
The well-preserved man
The mature men
The longer living
The sunset years
The second childhood
Getting on in years
Past one’s prime
Feeling one’s age
Stricken in years
Get the walking ticket/papers Lay off
4. subvert: destabilize 5. illegal activities: preventive action
6. concentration camp : strategic village/hamlet
7. leave the party :take a walk