How to Title an Essay: Tips and Examples

How to Title an Essay: Tips and Examples

Coming up with a good title for your essay is an important part of the writing process. The title is the first thing that readers see, and it can significantly influence their decision to read your work or not. A catchy and attention-grabbing title can make your essay stand out from the rest, while a dull or generic title may cause readers to lose interest before even reading the first page. So how do you create a title that not only captures the essence of your essay but also grabs the reader’s attention? In this article, we will explore some tips and examples to help you craft an outstanding title for your essay.

One tip for titling your essay is to focus on the main subject or theme of your piece. The title should give readers a clear idea of what to expect when they read your essay. For example, if you are writing a compare-and-contrast essay about two clothing brands, your title could be “A Closer Look at the Similarities and Differences between Brand X and Brand Y.” By including the subject and the main focus of your essay in the title, you are establishing the main idea before readers even start reading.



Another tip is to use language that is specific, concise, and persuasive. Avoid vague or generic titles that don’t provide any information about the contents of your essay. Instead, use strong and descriptive words that accurately convey the essence of your argument or the main idea of your essay. For instance, if you are writing a persuasive essay on the importance of exercise, a title like “The Benefits of Daily Physical Activity: Why Exercise is Necessary for a Healthy Lifestyle” immediately identifies the topic and highlights the key argument you will be making.

Wordplay and punny titles can also be a fun and creative way to make your essay title more attractive. However, it is important to ensure that the wordplay fits the tone and subject of your essay. Examples of punny titles could be “Four Score and Seven Years of Essays: A Table of Contents” for a collection of college essays or “What’s in a Name?”: Exploring the Power of Language in Literature” for an essay on the use of language in literary works.

Strategies for Creating Effective Essay Titles

  1. Know your audience: Before you start brainstorming for title ideas, take into consideration the specific audience and purpose of your essay. Consider whether your essay is for a college application, a book review, or a personal essay. Each of these genres may require a different tone and style in the title.
  2. Use key words from your essay: Look for key words or phrases from your essay that can be incorporated into the title. This not only provides a connection between the title and the content, but it also helps to attract the reader’s attention.
  3. Be specific: A good title is specific and gives the reader a clear idea of what the essay is about. Instead of using a generic title like “The Road Less Traveled,” consider using a more specific title like “Exploring the Road Less Traveled: A Journey of Self-Discovery.”
  4. Consider the essay’s tone: The tone of your essay should be reflected in the title. If your essay is persuasive, the title should convey that. If it’s analytical, the title should reflect that as well. For example, a persuasive essay about the importance of recycling could be titled “Recycling: Saving the Planet One Bottle at a Time.”
  5. Check for similarities: Before finalizing your title, do a quick Google search to see if there are similar titles or essays out there. You want your title to be unique and stand out from the rest.
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Remember, the title is the first impression your reader will have of your essay, so it’s important to make it strong and compelling. By following these strategies and considering the guidelines above, you’ll be on the right track to creating effective essay titles that will grab your reader’s attention and make them want to dive into your work.

Use Relevant Keywords

Before you start brainstorming for potential titles, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the key values and ideas that you want to convey in your essay. Take some time to establish the tone and language of your writing, as it will greatly influence the effectiveness of your title.



In order to come up with a title that fits your essay well, try doing a short exercise. Write down a brief summary of your essay, emphasizing important elements. While reading this summary, pay attention to the keywords that stand out. These are the words that you can use in your title to make it more attractive and persuasive.

For example, if you’re writing a personal essay about your experiences studying abroad, you may include keywords such as “college”, “compare-and-contrast”, “culture”, “language”, and “experience” in your title.

It’s also important to consider the style guide you are using for your essay. Different style guides, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style, may have specific rules and guidelines for title writing. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these rules to ensure that your title follows the appropriate style.



Above all, the title of your essay should be eye-catching and give readers a glimpse of what they can expect from your work. If done well, it can grab their attention and make them want to dive deeper into the contents of your essay.

Remember, titling an essay is a creative exercise, so don’t be afraid to take some risks and play with words. Sometimes, a little creativity can go a long way in creating a great title.

And as a bonus tip, always read your essay title aloud. This exercise can help you determine if the title sounds strong and appropriate and if it captures the essence of your essay.

Use Catchy Phrases or Quotations

1. Choose a Strong and Attention-Grabbing Phrase

When selecting a catchy phrase or quotation for your essay title, make sure it is strong and attention-grabbing. This will ensure that your title stands out from the rest and piques the reader’s interest.

2. Reflect the Purpose and Tone of the Essay

The chosen phrase or quotation should accurately reflect the purpose and tone of your essay. It should give the reader a brief idea of what the essay is about and what they can expect from it.

3. Develop a Punny or Creative Phrase

If appropriate for the subject of your essay, you can try developing a punny or creative phrase for your title. This will add a touch of humor or creativity to your title, making it more attractive to the reader.

4. Use Specific Words from the Essay

Another effective way to create a catchy phrase or quotation is to use specific words or phrases from your essay. This establishes a connection between the title and the content of the essay, giving the reader a sense of what they can expect.

Here’s an example of an attention-grabbing and catchy title for an essay about the similarities between book and clothing:

“From Pages to Wardrobes: Exploring the Similarities Between Books and Clothing”

By using a catchy phrase like “From Pages to Wardrobes,” the title immediately grabs the reader’s attention and identifies the subject of the essay. It also establishes a connection between two seemingly unrelated objects, piquing the reader’s curiosity.

Make the Title Clear and Concise

One tip for creating a clear title is to avoid using punny or funny wordplay that may confuse the reader. While it might be tempting to come up with a clever title, it’s important to remember that the goal is to communicate the content and purpose of your essay effectively.

Instead of going for clever wordplay, focus on using descriptive and accurate language that accurately reflects the content of your essay. Consider using informative subtitles or tags that provide a brief summary or hint at the main ideas explored in your essay. These subtitles can help guide the reader and give them a better understanding of what to expect.

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For example, if you’re writing a persuasive essay about the importance of social justice, a clear and concise title could be “The Power of Social Justice: Understanding its Role in Creating a Better World.” This title effectively communicates the topic and purpose of the essay while also establishing the values and ideas explored.

Another important element of a clear and concise title is to avoid making it too long. While you want your title to be informative, it should also be concise and easy to read. A long title can be overwhelming for the reader and may cause them to lose interest before even reading the essay.

Consider the following examples:

Example 1: “A Comparative Analysis of Chicago and New York City: Exploring the Similarities and Differences”

Example 2: “Comparing Chicago and New York City: Exploring Similarities and Differences”

In Example 1, the title feels cluttered and overwhelming, while in Example 2, the title is concise and to the point. The second title is more likely to attract the reader’s attention and make them want to read further.

When developing your title, it can also be helpful to think about the purpose and application of your essay. Are you writing a research paper? A compare-and-contrast essay? Knowing the purpose of your essay will help you tailor your title to fit the style and content of your writing.

In summary, a clear and concise title is essential for creating an outstanding essay. It helps the reader understand the topic and purpose of your writing and establishes the main ideas you will be exploring. Remember to avoid punny wordplay, keep your title concise, and consider the purpose and style of your essay. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to creating an attractive and informative title for your essay.

Consider the Tone of Your Essay

Whether your essay is argumentative, persuasive, or an application essay, the tone you choose is essential. A persuasive essay might have a more assertive and confident tone, while an application essay might have a more personal and introspective tone. The tone should align with the purpose and content of your essay, providing a glimpse into what the reader can expect.

One way to consider the tone is through wordplay, where you use clever language or witty puns to grab the reader’s attention. For example, an essay about studying abroad could have a title like “21 Days in a Windowless Room: A Study in the Value of Taking Risks.” This title incorporates a punny wordplay and gives the reader a brief glimpse into the subject matter.

Brainstorm and Identify Your Tone

Before you start titling your essay, take some time to brainstorm and identify the tone you want to convey. Think about the values, topics, or subjects you want to highlight and consider what makes your essay unique. Are there any similarities or specific aspects that you could use in your title to grab the reader’s attention?

Once you’ve brainstormed, try to come up with a few different options for your title. A good exercise is to write down three to five potential titles and then choose the one that best fits the tone and purpose of your essay.

Use Style and Language

When creating your title, consider the style and language you want to use. Some essays may require a more formal and serious tone, while others may benefit from a more casual and conversational tone like the Chicago style. Think about the overall style and language of your essay and try to match it in your title.

It’s also important to consider the audience of your essay and adjust your tone accordingly. If you’re writing for a more academic audience, you may want to use more scholarly language. On the other hand, if you’re writing for a general audience, you can use a more accessible and relatable language.

Pay Attention to Length and Substance

When crafting your title, pay attention to the length and substance. A title that is too long may not grab the reader’s attention, while a title that is too short may not give enough information about the essay’s subject. Aim for a descriptive and concise title that conveys the main idea of your essay.

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Above all, the title should be attention-grabbing and entice the reader to want to read more. It should provide a glimpse into the substance of your essay and make the reader curious about what they will find inside.

Summary: Creating a Good Title

In summary, creating a good title for your essay is an important part of the writing process. Consider the tone, style, and language that best align with your essay, as well as the intended audience. Pay attention to length and substance, aiming for a concise yet descriptive title. Use wordplay, if appropriate, to grab the reader’s attention. By following these guidelines, you can come up with a title that not only accurately identifies the content of your essay but also engages and intrigues your readers.

Bonus: 4 Examples of Attention-Grabbing Essay Titles

1. An Unexpected Journey: Exploring the Road Less Traveled2. Everything You Wanted to Know About Essay Titles (But Were Afraid to Ask)
3. How to Write a Persuasive Essay: A Guide for the Ambitious4. 21 Objects That Tell a Brief Story: Unlocking the Window to Our Values

Experiment with Different Title Formats

1. The Punny and Playful Title

If you want to be witty and make someone smile, a punny title could be a great choice. Using wordplay or clever language can make your title stand out and grab attention. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of clothing, a title like “Clothes Minded: What Are You Wearing to Impress?” could work well.

2. The Provocative and Thought-Provoking Title

For more serious or argumentative topics, consider creating a title that sparks curiosity or evokes strong emotions. A provocative title can make people want to read your essay to find out more. For example, if you’re writing about the impact of technology on society, a title like “The Digital Dilemma: Is Technology Taking Over Our Lives?” would be compelling.

3. The ‘Everything You Need to Know About’ Title

If you want to convey that your essay is a comprehensive guide or study on a specific topic, using a title format like “Everything You Need to Know About [Topic]” can be effective. For example, if you’re writing about climate change, a title like “Everything You Need to Know About Climate Change: Causes, Effects, and Solutions” would provide a clear roadmap of what the essay covers.

4. The Personal and Engaging Title

A personal title can create an immediate connection with the reader. Using words like “you” or “me” in the title can make it feel more relatable and draw the reader in. For example, if you’re writing a self-help book, a title like “Unlocking Your Potential: A Guide to Personal Growth and Success” would resonate with the reader on a more personal level.

BONUS TIP
Before finalizing your title, consider creating a table of contents or outline for your essay. This will give you a clear overview of the main points and help you come up with a title that accurately represents the contents of your essay.

In essence, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for title-writing. It takes creativity and thoughtfulness to develop a strong and attention-grabbing title. Experiment with different formats, play with language, and above all, make sure that your title aligns with the purpose and topic of your essay. With these elements in mind, you’ll be on the road to creating great titles that won’t go unnoticed.

FAQ

What are some tips for titling an essay?

When titling an essay, it is important to keep it concise, yet informative. You can use keywords or phrases that summarize the main point of your essay. Additionally, you can try using a quote, a question, or a play on words to grab the reader’s attention.

Should I include keywords in the title of my essay?

Including keywords in the title of your essay can be beneficial, as it helps to convey the main point of your essay and make it more searchable. However, make sure not to overload the title with too many keywords, as it might make it look cluttered.

Can I use a quote as the title of my essay?

Yes, using a quote as the title of your essay can be a creative and effective way to grab the reader’s attention. Just make sure that the quote is relevant to your essay and provides a clear glimpse into the main idea of your work.

What are some examples of catchy essay titles?

Some examples of catchy essay titles could be “The Power of Words: Exploring the Impact of Language in Modern Society” or “Breaking the Silence: The Struggle for Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age”. These titles are informative, thought-provoking, and likely to engage the reader.

Should I create the title of my essay before or after writing the content?

It can be helpful to brainstorm and create a working title before writing the content of your essay. Having a clear title in mind can help guide your writing process and keep your essay focused. However, it is also okay to come up with a final title after your essay is complete, as you may have a better understanding of its main message.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.