Local Man Loses Pants, Life. Abstract


This Bachelor’s thesis is a study of the use of asyndetic coordination in headlines in 12 English-language online newspapers, from the US, the UK, Australia and Canada. More specifically, the feature examined is the use of a comma where one would, in formal writing, expect an and, namely between two phrase-level elements in a list of only two, as in the title of the thesis: Local man loses pants, life. The study is based on a corpus constructed of 513 headlines culled from RSS feeds. The primary finding is that the asyndetic, space-saving “comma form”, as found in the title of the thesis, dominates in the US, Canadian and Australian newspapers, but is almost completely avoided in the UK newspapers (where the title of this thesis would almost certainly have been written Local man loses pants and life).

The findings also suggest that factors such as notions of grammatical markedness and temporal or causal relations may influence the choice of coordination form in those newspapers  that use both forms.