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Business, Communication, Email Writing, Writing

Creating the Perfect Title: Dos & Don’ts

A great title can draw readers in and get them intrigued right away, but the opposite is true as well.

A bad or misleading one can sour a story before it even begins. So how do writers go about this? Well, they adhere to specific rules and established norms like those described below!

Do: Practice proper capitalization

Titles follow different capitalization guidelines (known as title case) than regular sentences.

Capitalize the first letter of these word categories

  • Nouns/Pronouns
  • Verbs
  • Adverbs
  • Adjectives
  • Subordinate conjunctions (like because)
  • The first and last word

But leave these parts of speech lowercase

  • Articles (a, an & the)
  • Prepositions of fewer than 5 letters
  • Coordinate conjunctions (aka FANBOYS)

Don’t: Make the title too wordy

As a rule of thumb, titles should generally be between 3 and 12 words.

Articles and reports are often closer to a dozen, while titles of books and stories are usually on the shorter side. Going any longer than 12 words can become too confusing for potential readers and cause them to lose interest.

Do: Consider the content & audience

When writing a blog post, you’ll want a catchy, exciting, or mysterious title with keywords for SEO. On the other hand, a title for an academic essay or report should be a more formal summary of the content.

Blog example:

3 MAJOR Keys to Planning an Incredible Trip!

Academic example:

Examining Aspects of Organizing a Vacation

Don’t: Be afraid to make changes if needed

After completing your novel, essay, report, or article, you may realize that the original title you had in mind does not suit the finished product.

Luckily, you can still change a working title up until the point of publication. Be flexible with your titles in order to give yourself more options!

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