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.
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.
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.
What are you writing about? What is the style of your paper, and is it an academic essay or a free-form essay like a narrative essay? If the topic of your essay is “Do people who commit heinous crimes deserve the death penalty?” your title should not be humorous; it should be strict and to the point.
If your topic is “Why do people like watching funny cat videos?”, feel free to craft a funny title. Determine the tone of your essay and base your title on it—in consideration with the essay’s topic.
The tone can be:
- Serious - “The implications of global warming”
- Funny - “How cats and dogs love their masters”
- Amiable - “Ways to fight depression”
- Persuasive - “Why positive thinking is a must have skill for every person”
- Informative - “Ten rules for creating a chemical at home”
The main goal of a title is to name its paper. There is no need to tell an entire story in the title, or provide any useless details. Sum up your paper in a few words! Another way to do this is to sum up your thesis statement, as it represents the main idea of your essay. Take your thesis and squeeze it into 3-4 words. Imagine that you are creating a title for your favourite newspaper or a slogan for Coca-Cola.
Don’t use fancy words! Take 2-3 main words (keywords), put them together, and stop wasting your time. Avoid jargon and abbreviations.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something that can help any student and young writer reap benefits. While working on a title, detect the words related to the central idea of the paper. Type the words into the search field of Google and add the word “quote.” A search engine will show numerous web pages with in-text quotations that could be useful. Select the fragment you like. It is possible to learn how to make a creative title for an essay in this way.
Discover several more tips from experts:
- Never forget the “What,” “Who,” “When,” “How,” “Why,” and “Where” questions (if you start with one of these questions, your title has a chance of getting noticed);
- Come up with an unexpected image not related to the selected topic;
- Sometimes, starting with a lie increases the chances of a title being able to catch an eye;
- Review our catchy essay title examples.
Bad vs. Good Essay Titles
The best essay titles take papers and sum them up in a few words. To create a good one, a writer must consider their stylistic decisions and essay structure. Here are some examples from a veteran essay writer to show you what differentiates good and bad essay titles.
BAD: How Television has Changed Our World - Too vast and not informative.
GOOD: The Electronic Babysitter: A Social History of the Uses of the Television - Gives an exact description of what the essay will be about.
BAD: The Ara Pacis Augustae - Unclear for people who do not know Latin.
GOOD: The Modern Historical Significance of the Ara Pacis Augustae to the City of Rome - Here the reader understands what they will be reading about.
BAD: The Most Poisonous Frog - Not clear enough.
GOOD: A Deadly Beauty: The Evolution of Skin Coloration and Toxicity of the Poison Dart Frog - It’s clear.
BAD: A Brief History of Subcultures and How They Manifest Themselves in a Constantly Changing Socio-Economic Environment - Too long and complicated.
GOOD: Reconsidering Counterculture in Contemporary Society - Informative enough, brief, and to the point.
BAD: The Little Mermaid 29 Years Later: Selling a Harmful Sexist Message Through a Vivid and Attractive Image - Inappropriate language.
GOOD: The Projection of Gender Stereotypes in The Little Mermaid - Appropriate language.
Bad titles fail to give an audience a sense of perspective. They are often generalized and therefore incomplete. Adding key information and structure to a title will make it informative and convincing.
After exploring how to write a title for an essay, it is time to move on and review some examples.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Avoid negative themes, sensitive issues, and unethical or immoral subjects.
- Avoid making your negative past public: Your negative past belongs to you as a student, they do not belong in your writings.
- Do not ask the wrong questions: If you fail to ask the right questions that are relevant to your field of study, you risk choosing the wrong topic.
- Avoid being too personal: As revealed earlier, your bad past belongs to you – avoid exposing it in your essay. Keep your essay professional by not including your own life in it.
- Do not neglect your teacher’s requirement: Ensure you understand your professor’s requirement; if you don’t, you might end up choosing the wrong topic. It might warrant you a bad grade and result in your frustration and a waste of your time.
Essay Title: Video Guide
70 Catchy Essay Title Examples
Below are some good titles for essays to inspire you for creating your own title.
Examples of Argumentative Essay Titles
- The Importance of Family Ties
- Prostitution Should Never be Legalized
- The Trojan Horse: A Closer Look at the Event
- It is just a Painting: When Art Matters
- The Drinking Age should be Higher
- There’s No Point in Sentencing Juveniles
- Gun Ownership is Legal to Protect Our Lives
- Cameras in Public Places: Security Measure or Violation of Privacy?
- Why is Cosmetic Surgery a Threat to Modern Teenagers?
- Why Euthanasia is Unethical
Examples of Persuasive Essay Titles
- Atheism is the Most Adequate Religion
- When Sorrow feels better than Excitement
- Adventures of an Introvert: Life is better off Alone than with Other People
- A Tale of Love and Allergies: Reasons to Avoid Flowers in Spring
- Never Judge an Employee by their Tattoos
- Illegal Immigrants have a right to stay in the US
- Heinous Crimes deserve nothing but the Death Penalty
- How Schools can use Video Games in the Learning Process
- It is Time for Women to start wearing Less-revealing Clothing to curb Men’s Catcalling
- Hiring a Candidate who Smokes: Pros and Cons
Examples of Creative Essay Titles
- The day I left my Childhood Behind
- The Power of Music: The way Heavy Metal changed my Life
- Why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my Hero
- The Appropriate Age to start discussing Sex
- Would Children Be better Students if Be Paid for Good Grades?
- What is the True Age of the Personal Computer?
- Which Parenting Styles Work?
- The Various Dialects of the English Language: The Bridge Between Different Worlds
- The Impact of Same-Sex Relationships on the Modern World
- Instagram: Its Influence on Young People
Examples of Catchy Essay Titles
- Elon Musk: Genius or Insane?
- Artificial Intelligence: How It Can Potentially Help or Destroy Humanity
- Modern Technology can solve Ancient Problems that date back Thousands of Years
- Virtual Reality and the Possibility of Time Travel
- North and South Korea: The Tale of Two Countries after Years of Conflict
- The Position of Mathematics in the History of Humanity
- How to Make It Big in the Real Estate Business
- How to raise Responsible Children in the 21st Century to be Happy
- How to Manage your Business like a Mafia Manager
- How to Become a Millionaire in the Age of Computers Without a Physical Business
- E-Commerce: Multi-Million-Dollar Virtual Business Empire
Examples of Research Paper Titles
- Cybersecurity in the Modern World
- E-Business for Developing New Directions in Bookstores
- Ethics being Paramount to One's Feelings
- Online Retail Business in the 21st Century
- Outsourcing for Huge Companies
- White-Collar Crime on Wall Street
- College Admission Policies in American Colleges
- How Quarantine has Affected Small Businesses
- College Tuition Planning for High School Students
- The Impacts of Homeschooling for Teenagers
Examples of College Essay Titles
- The Problem of Homelessness in Modern Society
- Illegal Immigrants in the US in 2020
- Is Mobile Telephony Changing the Way We Communicate?
- Is Satirical and Comedic News a Good Way to Stay Informed?
- What Is “Fake News” and How Does It Affect the Media?
- Is There Such a Thing as “Unbiased Reporting” and How Does One Find It?
- What the Best Role Is for News Reporters in Our Digital Era and How to Adhere to that Role
- Can Brain Damage From Drugs Be Reversed and How?
- The Effects of Marijuana on the Brain
- Can Learning to Do Lucid Dreaming Help You?
English Essay Titles Examples
- The day I left my childhood behind
- The power of music: The way heavy metal changed my life
- Why Buffy the vampire slayer is my hero
- The appropriate age to start discussing sex
- Would children be better off alone when being paid for the grades?
- What is the true age of a personal computer?
- Which parenting styles work?
- Various dialects of English language: The bridge between different worlds
- The impact of same-sex couples on the modern world
- Instagram: A breakthrough in social media
Title-writing is a process, and you should treat it like that. While writing your essay, you may work like a painter who has space, but when creating your title, you need to compress your entire message and topic into just one simple, brief yet clear and catchy phrase. Take your time to not rush it—of course, if your deadline allows you.
Here are things you need to remember for your title:
- Your Title should be an attention grabber
- It reflects the tone of your essay
- Your readers need to be able to understand what your essay is about
- It should contain some main keywords from your essay