Writing an Essay
Narrowing the Subject

Narrowing the subject

Once you have chosen your subject, you may need to narrow the subject to one that is manageable. For example, the topic “capital punishment” is too broad because you can deal with its history, arguments for, and arguments against. Instead, you should narrow your subject to a manageable size, such as the arguments for or the arguments against capital punishment.

Now is a good time to choose the title of your essay.

These are some points to remember when writing your title.

Writing the title

1. The title is a fragment, not a sentence.
2. There is no punctuation mark at the end of the title.
3. The title is not underlined or placed in quotation marks.
4. If the title is more than one line, it is single spaced, not double spaced.
5. The first word and each important word of the title are capitalized.

If your subject is "capital punishment," your title could be

The Reinstatement of Capital Punishment in Canada
The Abolition of Capital Punishment in the United States
Capital Punishment in Canada: Arguments for Reinstatement
Capital Punishment in the United States: Arguments for Abolition

Note that the title "Capital Punishment" is not suitable because it does not indicate to the reader your stand on the subject.

Your reader should be able to tell your stand on the issue from your title, not from having to read the first page of your paper.


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