Titled or Entitled?

Is a book titled or entitled?

Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read

Titled or Entitled?

Some people think entitled can't be used in this sense: 

She sold her book, which was entitled Squiggly and Aardvark Rule the World

They are entitled to their opinion, but they are wrong. The Chicago Manual of Style calls this belief a zombie rule

Of course, entitled does mean that someone has a certain right—that they are entitled to something—but major dictionaries and usage guides also state that titled and entitled are synonyms in the meaning "named or called" when referring to a book, article, or speech. 

Saying a book is “entitled something” isn’t wrong. On the other hand, simpler language is almost always better, and since titled is simpler than entitled, I do consider titled the better choice, as does the Associated Press. In fact, it's the better choice for no other reason than you won't have to deal with people incorrectly correcting you. 

Better yet, rewrite the sentence without either word; that usually gives you a simpler, more direct sentence anyway. For example, instead of writing 

She sold her book, which was entitled Squiggly and Aardvark Rule the World, 

you could write

She sold her book, Squiggly and Aardvark Rule the World.

That was your quick and dirty tip: entitled and titled can both be used to introduce the name of a publication, but titled is the better choice, and often it’s an even better choice to get rid of the word entirely. 

Get more tips like this in The Grammar Devotional:

 Print: Amazon, Barnes & NoblePowell’s

E-book: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBook

This article was originally published February 24, 2011 and was updated April 13, 2016.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.