By Hassan Abdulbaqi



Some questions shall dictate your exact topic, you only need to copy such topics verbatim and learn the ways with which you can write a good heading without losing marks. But of course, this is very rare. A lot of candidates are liable to becoming confused when faced with a question asking them to give a befitting title to a piece or when they themselves want to title an essay they have written, say a narrative essay for example. You need not panic anymore, you’ve just got to follow the foregoing steps and you are on point to creating a suitable title for your piece.


First is appropriateness. The title should not be entirely different from the story or article. In fact, it must conform to the content and match closely with it. The title of your formal letters, for example should capture the major contents in the letter.

Second is Voice and Point of View. The title must capture the voice and points of view in the article. When it is academic, the title must not sound as if it is a story. That is, the voice of the title must be the voice of the content. For example, if the passage or essay is an argumentative essay which supports a motion where the writer narrated the story of a man in order to support a motion. This is not enough to title the piece: “The Man” because it is not a story as a whole. A piece giving details on how to cook yam should not be titled He Finally Ate It just because you wrote therein that husbands like eating yams a lot.


The third is that you must note the Narrative Technique in the case of a narrative essay/story: You must ask yourself if the story, in the case of narrative essay, is actually in the first person or third person narrative and this must influence your title. The first person narrative technique is simply a narration style where the narrator is one of the characters in the story. The writer shows his or her presence with the use of the personal pronouns ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘we’ etc. Read this excerpt, for instance:

That day, I went back to the class, after my school mother left me in anger to check the meaning of ‘promiscuous’; it is a word that is used to describe a person who has “many sexual partners”! I was alarmed! It was the costliest mistake I ever made… (Read full story SO THAT YOU DON’T BE LIKE ME, read more examples TRAVAILS OF A TEACHER, LIN102 FIRST TEST DRAMA)


You can notice instantly that the narrator of the story is also a character in the story. The third person narrative technique is just opposite to the first person narrative technique which we just discussed. That is, the narrator is not one of the characters in the story. Instead of personal pronouns, the narrator mentions the names of the characters or represents them with a pronoun.  Read the following example and compare it to the excerpt in the first person narrative technique


That day, Hassan went back to the class, after his school mother left him in anger, to check the meaning of ‘promiscuous’; it is a word that is used to describe “a person who has many sexual partners”! He was alarmed!

Here, the narrator is not one of the characters of the story but he was rather narrating what a character did. I hope you get it? Good!


The fourth is that it must be Easy to Remember. The words in the title must not be too complex. It should be easy to remember. For example, a story whose major character is one who feels pleasure at others failure cannot be titled ‘The Schadenfreude’ despite the fact that the word captures the meaning due to the strangeness of the word.


Again, don’t forget appropriateness, voice and point of view, narrative technique and ease of remembrance while choosing your title.