We like to use expressive words when we talk about business, especially in the news, as they help to emphasise meaning and sometimes add a certain twist. Today, I’d like to pick a few headlines and look at how the verbs chosen might change the way we read and understand the news.
Firstly, from the Telegraph:
Inequality falls as low earners’ wage growth outstrips the rich
Here, the verb ‘to fall’ implies a lack of control. If I fall, it is not the same as if I jump. I decide to jump. I don’t choose to fall. So, in this sentence, inequality is not being reduced in a controlled manner through the specific actions of someone. According to the headline, this is because of the growth in wages of low earners which ‘outstrips’ that of the rich. ‘Strip’ comes from middle English when it meant ‘move quickly’. So ‘to outstrip’ is to move even more quickly.

Secondly, from Reuters:
Mercedes-Benz mulls production shift away from U.S. but no decision taken
‘To mull’ or ‘to mull over’ means to consider or to think about and implies a slow process rather than rapid decision making. The implication of the headline is that we shouldn’t expect anything to happen with this topic for some time. As we might say in English, ‘don’t hold your breath!’

Thirdly, from the Independent:
Facebook's value crashes $111bn, leaving company on track for worst day in stock market history
The verb used here, ‘to crash’, adds drama to the headline and fits well with the conveniently, eye-catchingly repetitive and large figure of $111 billion. As with ‘to fall’, ‘to crash’ implies a lack of control. However, there is a difference. Something that is falling has not finished, something that has crashed has come to a dramatic and destructive end. Therefore, the headline implies that the rapid reduction in stock value has come to an end and any further reductions will be slower or that the stock will regain some value.

You can read all of these news headlines and their stories by using an RSS reader such as FEEDLY. You can also use an RSS reader to read this blog.



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