What is a strong title and how do I write one?

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A strong title should do two things: (1) get the reader’s attention and (2) accurately inform the reader of the essay’s topic, subject, and purpose.

The Media: Free or Controlled?

This title is weak because it asks a question rather than take a position and makes the reader believe that the writer is indecisive. Does the writer have an opinion and will it be presented in the essay? No, there’s nothing wrong with an exploratory essay if that is what your professor assigned, but generally college-level essays will require you to make an argument and support that argument; see purpose. The above title suggests indecision.

A strong title will present the subject of the essay as well as the assertion, even if it is just a hint. Like an opening sentence, your title should get the reader’s attention, so it should nto be too long or too detailed as this may dissuade the reader from even continuing. Try to be succinct and interesting:

Star Trek’s Positive Vision: The Future of Humanity

This title explicitly states the essay’s subject and offers a positive connotation about the subject to the reader. While it may not address the topic explicitly, it does provide a subject and a direction that the essay will develop.

Every noun and verb should be capitalized in your title. Do not italicize, underline or enclose your title in quotation marks.

Title of the following should be either underlined or italicized:

• books

• magazines

• newspapers

• pamphlets

• long poems

• plays

• films

• television programs

• radio programs

• musical compositions

• choreographic works

• works of visual arts

• comic strips

• software

• web Sites (Hacker 323)

Quotation marks are used around the following titles of short works:

• newspaper and magazine articles

• short poems

• short stories

• songs

• episodes of television and radio programs

• subdivisions of books and web sites (Hacker 302)

A strong titles should also be used to grab the reader's attention as well as asserting the author's opinion. As a person is looking over a blog or article, the title is what will draw the reader to the article otherwise the reader will simple skip to the next passage if the reader is not entice by the title. Descriptive word that give clear, crisp images will make a strong title and also help lure readers.

Work Cited

Hacker, Diana . Rules for Writers. 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004. 302, 323.

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