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    #1

    Dies or has died

    Hello

    I hope somebody can help me.

    Whenever a well known person dies, news reports use the headline "***** dies, aged 75".

    How can this be correct? surely it should be "***** has died, aged 75"

    Please can somebody explain to me which is the correct phrase.

    Thank you

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    #2

    Re: Dies or has died

    Newspaper headlines often use the present tense for recent events. In normal usage, we would not normally do this, but headlines follow their own rules.

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    #3

    Re: Dies or has died

    Headlines have special rules that are intended to maximize the use of limited space.

    Here are some general principles:

    Most verbs are written in the simple present: "John Smith dies in crash"
    Future events are expressed by "to": "Fred Jones to attend funeral"
    Articles are omitted: "Queen visits US"
    "And" is often replaced by a comma: "Surgeon replaces heart, liver" or "Obama, Castro attend gala dinner"
    The verb "to be" is omitted from the passive: "Clerk shot by mystery sniper"

    Do not follow these rules when using ordinary English.
    Translator, editor and TESOL certificate holder, but not a teacher. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

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    #4

    Re: Dies or has died

    Both phrases are natural and common in news reports and so can be described as normal usage, in my view. I read an example just now on the BBC news website -- Ronnie Corbett dies aged 85.

    The present simple dies here is an example of the historical present usage -- a rhetorical device for talking about past events with present tense. It's also common in some academic discourse.

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    #5

    Re: Dies or has died

    The present form is used not only in new reporting but also in story-telling, to give a sense of immediacy and realism.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Dies or has died

    But in story-telling, people often begin in the past and then switch to the present. News reports often start in the present and then may switch to the past in the body of the article.

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