Can The Title Of An MLA Essay Be a Question?

December 31, 2022 Umer
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You can always make the case that the title of an essay is something that you cannot make a compromise with. It is one of those things that can help you draw readers, even when they are not willing to read your essay in the first place. The best titles are balanced and enticing in their reach and scope. They do not reveal much but only enough to make the prospects want more of that.

However, can you use a question as the title of your essay? We all know that any essay title can be an implied question that the writer intends to answer through narration, description, argumentation, or exposition, all depending on the type of the essay.

In this blog, we will take a look at the premise as to whether we can or we should use a question of an MLA essay as its title.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Modern Language Association referencing style, or simply MLA, is one of the most common citation styles that are used in academics. It is more flexible and accommodating toward web sources and other secondary sources compared to the APA style. That’s why it is widely used in schools and colleges across all subjects and disciplines. 

A part of the success of the MLA style is its simplicity and focus on utility and practicality, instead of merely sticking to the traditions. The fact that it is one of the most popular referencing styles across the globe is a testament to all the qualities that it holds over other formats.

Using Question As The Essay Title

There are both functions and intentions that an essay title serves. On the function end, it needs to provide a glimpse of the premise or the main principle of the essay to the readers. This will help them in determining whether they are interested in reading it or not. The intention part actually tries to make them interested in the essay. It can be the use of literary devices so that they do not help but feel drawn to the essay.

In this section, we will cover the premise of using a question as an essay title, according to different essay types.

Analytical Essay

Analytical essays are considered a type of expository essay. In these, writers cannot provide personal opinions or views but can only communicate factual information to the readers. Most analytical essays analyze works or ideas put forward by other scholars and authors. In this process, they examine the source and devise a stance on whether it has merits or shortcomings. Using a question as a title for an analytical essay makes it poor. Rather, it should be a statement or a highlight of the work that has been analyzed in the essay.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays, as the name indicate, support the writer’s stance using both empirical evidence and logical reasoning. In these essays, writers formulate an argument to either appreciate or negate a side of an argument. In the body of the essay, they provide multiple sources and references to justify that point. However, using a question as a title depends on the contents of the essay. If the writer has two possible sides to the argument, he can use a question as a title because it will relate to the contents.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a personal account of an incident or event that happened to the writer and that changed the course of events for him. It is one of the simplest and most common essay types as it is used in schools to help students remove their fear of writing and editing. A narrative essay has a story and then takeaways for the readers in the conclusion. It is the type of essay that can take full advantage of the question being the title of the essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are focused on convincing readers that one statement or one side of the argument is true. This is a type of argumentative essay with an additional twist – writers can use personal opinions and views but they need to back their authenticity and validity through empirical evidence and facts. A question like the title of the essay is not a good idea because the writer needs to convince the reader not to put other ideas in her head. It is best to stick with a statement with this one.

Turning Questions Into Focused Essay Titles

When students are assigned with writing essays for class, they are often perplexed by many issues. There are many reasons behind it. The most common one is that students are not adequately trained and commanded in the art and craft of writing. Also, they are new to the game and may find it hard to experiment with the topics and the titles. When it comes to title creation, they fear that the best title has already been taken or the titles they are coming up with cannot reflect the thought behind their essays.

In all the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph and many more, a question can be a fitting solution. That’s why we will take a look at how to formulate a title from a question for your MLA essay.

Your Guide To Formulate Strong Essay Questions

Even when the essay title is not a question, it is an implied fact that the writer is probing into a question and looking for answers. Many experts can make the case that a thesis question is an answer to the essay question. In that way, it is only natural that the title of an essay is a question where the writer explores the primary and secondary sources and ensures that everything is right on the mark. In this section, we will take a look at some of the ways that a writer can change the essay title into an essay question.
Probe Into Research Question
Essay questions should not be made the essay title. They are too direct or too revealing for the readers and can damage the integrity of the essay. However, it can provide a starting point for the writer to ensure that the ultimate title ends up being a great and valuable addition.
Save The Title For The End
Many writers make the mistake of optimizing and tweaking the essay title in the beginning. This can be a difficult task because they do not have anything to start with and add value to the title. On the contrary, adding the title after going through the essay can ensure that everything is right on track.
Catch Readers’ Attention
Titles are one of the few things that can be used to market an essay. Writers need to formulate titles that can grab readers’ attention by connecting the dots but not clearly enough. There is no need to use clickbait or anything from the internet but something that is more to the point.
Incorporate Keywords Into The Title
Keywords are the terms and phrases that are multi-purpose in their approach. They not only denote the exact idea but also connect the intention and view of the writer with the reader. Whether you are writing an essay on politics, technology, and so on, it is best to incorporate keywords into the title.
Avoid Using Simple Questions
Many students can be tempted to use a straightforward question as the title of the essay. This is a clear red flag that must be avoided. Instead, writers should use complex questions that can spark controversy and discussion among scholars. Any question that can be answered through a simple “yes” or “no” should be avoided.
Get Peer Reviews On Titles
After completing an essay, it is best to get peer reviews on all the elements of the writing. Peers can be siblings, classmates, and other people around the writers. They can mark the essays and ensure that there are no issues remaining in the essay. It is best to cover this premise before moving forward.

F.A.Q

Can the title of an essay be a question?

Of course! Whether you are writing an essay based on a query, you can cover the title with a question. This can be refined and perfected using different tools and even software.


Is it okay to put the question in the title?

Yes! In many cases, depending on the type of essay and the premise of the arguments, writers can use a question as the title of the essay. According to experts, it is best to use a question as a title for narrative and argumentative essays compared to others.


Can a good title be a question?

There is no doubt that choosing a good title for an essay is an important thing. If you think that using a question as a title is a good idea, you need to ensure that everything is right on the mark.


Why are short, direct questions poor essay titles?

It is because an essay is an exploration of an idea or a premise to cover the topic or a title. The best titles are thought-provoking and exploring in their character compared to short questions with simple “yes” or “no” answers.


Can a title start with a question?

Yes. A title can start with a question but the essay type and its scope are better determinants of this fact. So, students must get reviews from teachers and peers to ensure that they are hitting the mark.


Should a title be a question or a statement?

It depends on the type of essay. If you are writing a narrative or a technical essay, you are better off using a question. However, for those who are writing argumentative and analytical essays, it is best to go with a statement or a bold sentence.


Summing Up The Conversation

An essay title is the most important thing to add value to the overall essay. Apart from the opening lines and the overall premise of the essay, there is not much that can do to grab readers’ attention. In this blog, we have taken up the premise to understand the value of the question as the title of the essay. There are many alternatives and issues with going blind, even with that approach. That’s why we have explained the idea through different essays, types, and scopes.

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