The title of your work is often an easy – and under-utilized – way to make a great first impression and advance your argument before your audience has started your introduction.
Titles matter. Imagine if Hemingway had titled his first novel A Goodbye to Rifles rather than A Farewell to Arms.Or if Kanye West’s debut CD had been called I Failed College rather than The College Dropout.
If you are writing argumentatively, the title of your essay can also start to persuade your reader – before they’ve even started the essay. The title is a place you can have a little fun, pay tribute to a phrase or idea that you appreciate, and begin to endear yourself to your reader.
For a teacher, there is nothing worse than an untitled essay. Well, perhaps an essay titled “English Paper.”
Read through the titles of articles in a recent magazine to get ideas. Refine the phrasing so when you say it out loud the words roll together pleasantly. Try to get a subtle hint of your paper’s main argument into the title, even if the meaning won’t be evident to the reader until they have finished your paper. If your professor has an ounce of cool in them, try using a reference to current events or an artist/writer/musician you enjoy. You’ll communicate that you have taken a personal interest in the material, and generate some curiosity.