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How to Title an Essay

April 22, 2018 Essay Writing Guide
How to Title an Essay

What is the first thing you are looking at before reading a book, post, article, journal, essay, etc.? Most likely, your eyes are fixated on the title. After reading it, you will most likely ask yourself this question: “Should I read it or not?”

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Importance Of a Good Title

A title can make or break an essay paper; a boring headline does not catch anyone's attention. Your title should engage your teacher or reader and incentivize them to read the rest of the paper. Having a catchy attention grabber is crucial when writing an essay – as it is the first thing that readers look at.

When brainstorming what title to choose, keep in mind that your goal is to get the “Oh my god, I want to read the whole story” reaction, rather than “This thing is definitely boring”. After reading a title, your reader should understand what the story will be about. So, in conclusion, we can say that the title is a concise summary of the main topic.

Before you start sorting out ideas in your head, it would be useful to learn more about features that every title should have. A good headline must be:

things that headline must include

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Credible
  • Coherent
  • It must be written in an active voice (in case if your title contain verbs)
  • Concise
  • Accurate

How To Write A Good Title

It doesn't take a sensei to compose a catchy essay title. However, there are a few core principles to be taken into account. The following tips will help you stay on track and avoid common pitfalls.

Four Tips on How to Title an Essay

Essay Goes First

You might think that it would be correct to write a title first, and then proceed to the actual writing process. When talking about this tip, things are slightly different. If you write a title first, the rest of the paper will be based on it, and it should be vice versa. Actually, most writers never start with the title. Writing your essay first will give you a clear understanding what should be at the place of your title. The tactic is simple; first, you write an essay, then you read it, then you read it one more time if the title didn’t come to your mind from the first try.

Another advantage of writing an essay first is that you will save your time. It’s common for the majority of students to spend a lot of time just on creating a suitable title for their essays. Following that tip will give you more time that you could spend on crafting an essay outline, researching or writing the paper.

Take The Style of Your Paper Into Account

What are you writing about? What is the style of your paper? Is it an academic essay, or is it a more free-form 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 or comical. It must be more strict and to the point. But if your topic is “Why do people like watching funny cat videos?”, then feel free to craft a funny title. As you can understand, it’s important to determine the tone of your essay and base your title on it, considering the topic.

Keep It Short and Simple

Being brief and careful is the best option when talking about the title. The main goal of the title is simply to name a paper. There is no need to tell the whole story in the beginning. All you need to do is to sum up your paper in a few words. You can also sum up your thesis statement as it represents the main idea of your essay. Take your thesis and squeeze it into a three or four words. Imagine that you are creating a header for your favorite newspaper or a slogan for coca-cola. Make it in a few words to take your reader right to the point.

Use Only Relevant Words

Do not use fancy words, take two-three main words, put them together and stop wasting your time. Avoid jargon and abbreviations in your essay title as they can scare the reader and make him put your paper away.

Bad vs. Good Essay Titles

The best essay titles take a paper and sum it up in a few words. To create one, the writer must consider their stylistic decisions and the essay structure. Here are some examples from a veteran essay writer to show you what differentiates bad and good essay titles.

Bad: How Television Altered Our World.
GOOD: The Electronic Babysitter: A Social History of the Uses of Television Technology.

BAD: The Ara Pacis Augustae.
GOOD: The Modern Historical Significance of the Ara Pacis Augustae to the City of Rome.

BAD: The Most Poisonous Frog.
GOOD: A Deadly Beauty: The Evolution of Skin Coloration and Toxicity of the Poison Dart Frog.

BAD: A Brief History of Subcultures and How They Manifest Themselves in a Constantly Changing Socio-Economic Environment
GOOD: Reconsidering Counterculture in Contemporary Society

BAD: The Little Mermaid 29 Years Later: Selling a Harmful Sexist Message Through a Vivid and Attractive Image
GOOD: The Projection of Gender Stereotypes in The Little Mermaid

Bad titles fail to give the audience a sense of perspective. They are often generalized and thus incomplete. Adding key information and structure to a title will make it informative and convincing.

Need Some Help With Your Essay Title?

Sometimes, even after reading your essay front to back, the title doesn’t pop into your head. Some concepts are hard to sum up in a couple of words. We get, we all have writer's block some time. If you are really struggling to come up with a captivating essay title. Feel free to contact EssayPro’s paper writers who will provide you with professional collage essay help at a moment’s notice. With their years of essay writing experience, titling becomes second nature, so you no longer need to worry about having a catchy headline on your paper!

Calvin Peter, from EssayPro writing company

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