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How To Come Up With a Good Title for Your Essay

Posted on August 26th, 2015 Essay Writing
how to write a good title for an essay

When it comes to completing an essay assignment, many students believe that the body of the essay is the most difficult part of their task. However, in many cases writing a great title for your essay can be just as difficult! You need to come up with a title that is catchy and still relevant. This takes a combination of creativity and research. The good news is that we have some tips to help get you started.

What Is the Purpose of a Title?

Before we begin with crafting the titles themselves, it is important to understand the purpose of the title. Essentially, the title of your essay allows your reader to predict the contents. It will also give them an idea of the tone and argument of your writing. You will want the title to catch the reader’s interest, but it should never be misleading. There should be no need to trick your reader into reading your work.

There are several different types of titles that you can choose from depending on what you want to convey to your readers. The various types of titles are as follows:

  • Descriptive Titles. These are titles which describe the subject of your essays, but which do not reveal the conclusion of your argument.
  • Declarative Titles. These are titles that will clearly state the main points or conclusion of your essay.
  • Interrogative Titles. These are titles which will introduce the topic in the form of a question.

Your title should not be too long or cumbersome. Research suggests that the ideal length for a title is around 10 words or less. Create a list of potential titles that fit your essay using the tips outlined below and see if any of them seem to be a good fit. You might want to try several variations of the same title by switching out some of the words for their synonyms.

Do Not Try to Title an Essay You Have Not Yet Written

The title is, of course, the very first thing that your reader is going to see. And that might make you think that it should be the first thing you have to write. However, that is often not the case. The vast majority of writers will actually write their title last. That is why we recommend completing at least one draft of your essay before you attempt to create a title.

Sometimes, in the process of writing an essay it can change substantially. What may have been the perfect title when you started out can end up being irrelevant, once you have finished editing and redrafting your work. If you choose a title at some stage before your final draft, then make sure that you revisit the title at the end to check if it still fits.

Think About the Key Themes of Your Essay

It can be helpful to reference some of your key themes in the title of your essay, so it is a good idea to identify these if you haven’t already. You can do this by making note of the key points you are putting across as part of your argument. You should be able to identify your themes by reading through your thesis statement and topic sentences and looking for recurring themes or motifs. It can also be useful to ask a friend to read your essay and give your their opinion on what the key themes are. One you have identified your themes, you can look at incorporating them into your title.

Consider Your Target Audience

The main thing about your title is that it should entice people to read your paper. That means that it has to capture their attention. Think about who is going to read your essay and what sort of language they would expect you to use. For instance, if you are writing an essay as a school assignment, then you are writing for an academic audience and should therefore choose formal language. However, if you were going to publish your essay online you could use keywords in your title that people are likely to search when looking for articles about your topic. Online articles could also have less formal language than academic assignments.

Hopefully, these tips will give you a good idea of where to start when it comes to writing good titles for your essays. You will need to come up with a short list of titles and then work with them to decide which is going to be your winner. It could be that your title is not apparent until you have completed your final draft.

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