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Tabloid English

567 of 1182 nominations

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Tabloid English

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Tabloid English

The original tabloid was a "small tablet", registered by a drugs company in 1884. Now English tabloid newspapers – the "red tops" with their scarlet nameplates – serve up a daily dose of gobsmacking headline news, mixed with celebrity, sex and scandal, in a language to match.

The informal style of tabloid newspapers is heavy on puns, short sentences, slang, exaggeration and informal names – where else could Posh and Becks have been so labelled? In tabloid language, people are never annoyed, they are "outraged"; having sex is frequently "a romp"; and celebrities or partners are all too often "dumped" or "axed".

Veteran journalist Keith Waterhouse, in his classic book Waterhouse On Newspaper Style, rendered his verdict on tabloid words: "They are labels. They do not convey precise meanings. The reader looks at the label, opens the tin – and finds a tin of labels".

NOMINATION 567 OF 1182

Your comments

Because it is an exemplary mix of what Alan Bennett thought was characteristic of Englishness - seriousness and non-seriousness.

arthur aughey


because love it or hate it, it is instantly recognisable as a part of British traditon and culture, and speaks for many British people.
Jessica McQuade


Who can forget the bus discovered on the moon etc.! I used to bring it back home from London when I visited, before it was available up here, and people looked at it in amazement!
Ian Wilson


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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye

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