How to Get Creative with Titles

(Last one from Fullerton College, I swear)


Here are some helpful hints to consider if you’re having difficulties creating an interesting title for your paper.


1. Title Pertains to Topic:
  • You want to use your title to attract attention, not lead your instructor/audience down the wrong path. Think of your paper as a freeway, and your title is the on-ramp. If your reader gets half-way through your introduction and thinks, Fiddlesticks, I’m on the 60 when I should be on the 91, you more than likely overstretched your title.
2. Be Ambiguous:
  • Although you want your audience to stay on the right path, you also want to leave some room for ambiguity. If you give your audience too much detail, he or she might not feel the need to read more of your paper.
3. Humor and Wit:
  • Never be afraid to make your title funny. Forcing your reader to crack a smile or even chuckle makes their initial opinion of your paper positive. The more positive the reader is at the start of the essay, the more likely they’ll stay positive throughout.
  • Alliteration at all Angles: Alliteration is a pattern of words thrown together that all have the same beginning consonant sounds. Using alliteration to build your title creates a witty fast-paced feel and is easier for your reader to digest. 
4. Something Small:
  • This is important, especially if your topic is universally known or you are analyzing a text. If your reader knows all of the background information, it makes it easier to pick something relevant and tie it into your title. For instance, I wrote an essay about the negative portrayal of women’s cognitive abilities in Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest. In the beginning of the short prose, the character, Algernon, ate all the cucumber sandwiches intended for his aunt. At first, my topic seems completely unrelated to this scenario; however, I came up with the title, “Not the Brightest Cucumber in the Sandwich.” Not only does this connect to a small detail within the reading, but it also allows the audience to assume that I’m going to discuss someone’s apparent ignorance in a negative light.

Hope this post was helpful :).

– Ashley Lunsford


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