Linguistic Manifestations of Modality in Newspaper Editorials

Alireza Bonyadi


Modality as a property of language use is generally exploited by language users. Its role in newspaper editorial is of special importance in that editorial writers tend to make use of this property to establish either a favorable or unfavorable bias throughout the text to manipulate their readers’ opinion. Through textual analysis of the selected editorials culled from the American newspaper, The New York Times, and the Persian English newspaper, Tehran Times, the present study firstly aimed at identifying the linguistic manifestation of modality employed in the two newspapers followed by presenting the classroom implications of the findings. Revealing some genre-specific features of this media discourse, the comparison of the two papers in terms of employing auxiliary modal verbs suggested that both of the papers preferred mainly predictive auxiliary modals such as will or would to the other kinds of modals. However, the higher number of the predictive modals in NYT suggested the idea that identifying what would happen in the future was the main concern of the editorial writers in NYT. On the other hand, comparing the modals of necessity in the two papers suggested that editorial writers in Tehran Times were occupied with what should be done.

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