Monday, December 6, 2010


Have you heard the news?   That's not news!  Where do Americans get their news?  Read the latest news headlines right here!

What is this word "news" anyway?

When I was growing up, my teachers told me that the word "news" was an acronym that represented the four points of the compass: north, east, west, south.

I now know that's not true, but the word "news" is still a puzzle and interesting for learners of English.

Is it a noun or an adjective?

If it's a noun, is it singular or plural?

The motto of the New York Times newspaper is "All the news that's fit to print."  From this sentence, you can see that it is a noun (the news) and you can see that it is singular (is).

Is it count or noncount? It is a non-count noun.  In the phrase, "That's not news!"  a non-count noun (meaning "news in general"). To quantify this word, use quantifiers such as some (I have some good news for you) enough, not enough, more, less, etc.

The word "news" can also be used as an adjective.  In this phrase, "local news headlines", the word "news" is an adjective (describing the noun "headlines").  The same is the case in the noun phrase, "a news story", where the noun is (a) story.

What a funny word "news" is, and how strange that a noun ending in ~s should be singular!

Do you want to know where this word came from? What is its origin?  The immediate origin of the word is French, from the word nouvelles, meaning new things.  English took this hundreds of years ago and kept the ~s, but uses the word in a singular form.

So now we ask you: Where do you get your news from?   From a newspaper or TV or the radio or from an online source? And why?  Please send us your answers by posting a comment, below.

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