How to Title an Essay, Complete Guide
A title can make or break an essay. So, what are the most eye-catching ideas to make a target audience want to start reading your paper? The goal of this article is to explain how to title an essay, research paper, article, and even a book.
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How to Choose a Good Title for an Essay and Why Is It Important?
A boring headline does not catch anyone's attention. Your headline should engage your teacher or reader and incentivize them to read the rest of the paper. Without reading the entire work, a teacher will not grade it objectively. Having a catchy attention grabber is crucial when writing an essay, as it is one of the first things that readers notice.
Naming an essay is different from titling a research paper. An essay focuses more on attracting attention and impressing its readers. A research paper is about supporting a particular claim or finding solutions to an existing problem.
Every student should know how to choose a good title for an essay. Brainstorming is what comes first. When brainstorming, keep in mind that your goal is to get the “Oh my god, I want to read the entire story” reaction. After reading the title, a reader should understand what the paper is about. The title is a concise summary of the main topic. How long should a title be for an essay? Well, less is always better, but the title should indeed express the main point of your work.
Before starting to sort ideas out in your head, let’s learn more about the features every title should have. A good headline must be:
- Attractive – this goes without saying. We all prefer reading something that is not boring.
- Believable – most students try to make their titles catchy in such a way that they stray away from the truth, therefore making the headline inaccurate. Nothing will anger your professor more than a title that doesn’t deliver.
- Easy to read – nobody likes complicated and difficult-to-understand titles, not even your professor. Stay away from strange phrases, jargon, and complicated structures.
- Active voice – if your title contains verbs, always make sure they’re in the active voice, rather than passive.
- Short – make your essay title brief because long headlines can be confusing.
- Accurate – regardless of the topic or niche, under no circumstances should you ever write an inaccurate essay title.
A Good Headline Must Be
- Attention grabbing
- Must be written in active voice
Here are other rules for how to create a good title:
- Title every section of writing: In the process of writing, create interesting subheadings to give your paragraphs an identity. Also, they make your text look ordered and clear.
- The title must bear the theme of the text: choose a title that summarizes the essay.
- Capitalize all words with certain exceptions: Capitalize the first letter of every word in the title, but do not capitalize pronouns, articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.
- Avoid underlining the title: Since topics come in boldface, underlining it will amount to overemphasis. Some authorities say that if you must underline it, do not bolden it.
- Review the final version of the title: Do not forget to do a quick review of the final version of the title—check for grammar, structure, spelling and so on. Re-read it to determine if the title has given justice to the essay. Confirm if the topic is catchy enough to attract your reader’s attention.
- When using a colon in your title, follow the rules: Since we are dealing with punctuation rules here, let us talk about the colon – when you have two eye-catching topics, separate them with a colon.
How to Come up with a Title for an Essay: Student’s Guide
Titling an essay can be easy, but there are a few core principles to be taken into account. The following tips will help you stay on track and avoid any common pitfalls.
Essay Goes First
Never start with a title! If you write it before the rest of the text, it will be based on it, and it should be vice versa. Writing an essay before choosing a heading will give you a clear understanding of what should make sense to the reader. Re-read the finished paper several times to decide on the title.
The last thing to create is a title - such strategy will give more time to spend on crafting an essay outline, conducting research, or writing the paper itself.