What's up with the funky syntax used by television reporters?
October 12, 2008 7:13 AM Subscribe
The verb "to be" missing from TV newscasts!
Anchors and TV reporters omitting "to be," often favor using participles instead.
posted by HotPatatta to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I find TV news to be unwatchable for a lot of reasons, one of them being the wacky syntax used by reporters. They often put past events into the present tense:
"A fire ravages an apartment complex in Cleveland, one of the victims just twelve years old."
Then there's the whole participle thing:
"Mayor Bloomberg deciding to run for a third term after hinting he might do so for weeks."
"The stock market plunging 37% this week! Many investors deciding to sell their portfolios."
And sometimes they just drop "to be" and don't use a participle:
"The cause of this fire still under investigation."
"Many Americans unsure of the nation's economic stability."
When did this start? Where did it start? Did one influential newscaster promulgate it? Do they do it to add a sense of urgency to whatever they're reporting? I can understand doing it in a newspaper headline where space is limited, but in TV news that wouldn't be an issue.