A news story at Reuters last week had a striking bit of syntax in its headline:
This unorthodox grammatical construction is not unusual in headlines, but I didn’t make a note of it before. A quick search online with various headline-friendly verbs shows it to be a regular enough occurrence:
The plain-language advocate Ernest Gowers, in his revision of Fowler’s, wrote that it would be “unreasonable to criticize headlines for not conforming to literary standards, or even for lacking any grammatical structure”.
I don’t think headlines ever completely forgo grammatical structure, though their structure is often more elliptical than what we find in standard writing.
It’s not as though there was no room for he, it, or whatever pronoun might apply between the two verbs in each case here. But headlines have a sublanguage all their own (sometimes called headlinese), and its rules are dictated by convention as much as necessity.
For more on headline language, including crash blossoms, noun pileups and assorted ambiguities, see the headlines archive.