Title and Abbreviation Writing Tips




A powerful title

The title is the most important aspect of writing. A good title is what decides whether your work will be read or passed by. Make it powerful enough to attract readers, yet simple and clear enough to appeal to them.

                                                                                                               Back to Top

Capitalization of title

Capitalize all the words in a title – except all the articles, coordinate conjunctions, and prepositions, regardless of length.

                                                                                                               Back to Top

Length of title

Make your titles short, simple, and clear. Long and complicated titles usually get passed over.

                                                                                                                                           Back to Top

Leave title for the end

Leave the writing of your title for the end. You need a title that stands out and beckons, so take your time to find a good one.

Back to Top

Write the title for your audience

When writing your title, think of your audience. The title should be easy for them to understand, as well as appeal to them. For example: If you are writing for teens, your title should appeal to that age group; and if you are writing for adults, your title should be attractive enough for them to want to read on.

Back to Top

Title within body of prose

When writing titles within body of prose, italicize if title is of full-length work published separately, and use quotation marks when title is of short works published as part of other works.

Back to Top

Turn title into question

Title or headline written in the form of a question is very effective in raising curiosity among readers. They would want to know the answer and read on. For example if the article or essay is on how to write a good title, the titles could be –

Statement: The Art of Writing a Good Title
Question:  Are You Frustrated With People Not Reading Your Article?

Now which of these titles appeals more?

Back to Top

Phrasal verb capitalization in a title

Prepositions in a title are not capitalized, unless they are part of a phrasal verb. A phrasal verb is a verb whose meaning is completed by the addition of another word. For example, ‘to give in’, ‘to set up’, or ‘to give up’. In these phrasal verbs, the words ‘in’ and ‘up’ are prepositions. They will be capitalized in a title when used as part of a phrasal verb, but will not be capitalized when used individually as prepositions. For example:

Driving up the Road (here ‘up’ is lowercased because it is functioning as a preposition)

Giving Up Smoking (here ‘up’ is capitalized because it is part of the phrasal verb ‘to give up’.

Back to Top

Intrigue in your title

Do not reveal too much in your title, otherwise the reader may not read your entire story or article. A good title only poses question, not give answers. 

Back to Top

e.g. and i.e.

The abbreviation e.g. is often confused with the abbreviation i.e. Remember: They are NOT interchangeable. E.g. is for the Latin exempli gratia, meaning "for example”. I.e. is for the Latin id est, meaning "that is". Both abbreviations should be followed by a comma.

                                                                                                               Back to Top

Use of abbreviations and acronyms

Use abbreviations and acronyms only if you are sure your readers will understand them.

                                                                                                               Back to Top

Latin abbreviations or English equivalents?

Use Latin abbreviations (e.g., i.e, etc, …) only in footprints, bibliographies, and informal writing. In formal writing, use the English equivalent of the abbreviations (for example, that is, and  so on, …).

                                                                                                               Back to Top

Abbreviations in scientific and technical writing

Avoid abbreviations in scientific and technical writing by writing out the full word. Exceptions are common terms (example: DNA), units of measure (examples: g, cm), and chemical or mathematical formulas.

Back to Top

Use of “a” or “an” before an abbreviation

When writing an abbreviation, the choice of “a” or “an” depends on the sound of the letter or word. For example: A CNN news report; An NBC program; A SWAT team.

Back to Top

Possessive abbreviations

To form singular possessive of an abbreviation, add “s” after the apostrophe (e.g. M.D.’s diagnosis). To form plural possessive, add “s” before the apostrophe (e.g. M.D.s’ diagnoses).

Back to Top

Abbreviations of a title

Do not use two abbreviations of a title at the same time. For example: Write Dr. John Smith, or John Smith, M.D.; NOT Dr. John Smith, M.D.

Back to Top

Phonic abbreviations in writing

Do NOT use phonic abbreviations like ‘thru’ (for through) and ‘tho’ (for though) in formal or semi-formal writing. It gives the reader the impression of the writer being careless or not serious in his/her work.

Back to Top

Spaces in abbreviations

Do not use spaces between letters, or between letters and periods, in an abbreviation. For example: AT&T and not A T & T; Ph.D. and not Ph. D.

However, initials in names are separated by spaces. For example: T. S. Eliot, or P. G. Wodehouse.

Back to Top

Abbreviations for units of measurements

Abbreviations for English units of measurement use periods, but abbreviations for metric units of measurement do not.  For example:

doz. oz. ft. in. pt. yd.   but     g m l cm km ha MB

Back to Top

Plurals of abbreviations

To form the plural of an abbreviation with a period, add an apostrophe and an ‘s’. For example:

Plural of M.P. – M.P.’s

To form the plural of an abbreviation without a period, simply add an ‘s’. For example:

Plural of gm – gms

Back to Top


Other Tips:

Home > Writing Tips > Title and Abbreviation Writing Tips