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Title vs. Entitle

I like to think I’m pretty swell at English grammar, punctuation, and usage, etc. But there’s at least one thing I have never gotten down, and that is, when do you use “title” versus “entitle.” For example, would I write: “She read a book titled ---”? Or is it “She read a book entitled ---”?

In what circumstances would either one be used?

  • February 27, 2006
  • Posted by sara
  • Filed in Usage

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entitled is a verb and titled is an adjective used AFTER a verb - "her new book, entitled 'Blahdy Blah', is out next week". Or, "She wrote a book about nothing titled 'Blahdy Blah'".

Clear as mud eh?

Helsinki March 2, 2006, 8:21am

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Both "titled" and "entitled" are verbs and both are adjectives as well. Furthermore, your example of "entitled" below, was not demonstrating use as a verb, but as an adjective. While they both have several definitions, they do overlap, and in some cases (particularly regarding the original question) are listed as synonyms with identical definitions.

porsche March 2, 2006, 9:00am

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For the title of a work, you should always use "titled"; use "entitled" only in the sense of someone being entitled to something.

Cheri March 2, 2006, 1:33pm

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What Cheri said.
"Having bought a book titled "Harry Potter and the Childrens Library" she was entitled to read it."

Anonymous March 3, 2006, 10:14am

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The meaning of entitle is slightly different to titled. Titled is meaning the title of which is "a book, the title of which is 'Harry Potter and the Children's Library'"
Entitled, is to name or give a title to
"she entitled the book 'Harry Potter and the Children's Library'"
Entitled has a secondary meaning, the general idea of which is to allow or give permission
"She was entitled to read the book titled 'Harry Potter and the Children's Library"

On another note, the Children's Library, is a posessive and so their should be " 's " at the end of it.

DamonTarlaei March 3, 2006, 12:52pm

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I'm afraid I must disagree with everything posted below.

Both words have more than one meaning. While they are not identical, they do overlap, and, in some definitions, they are synonyms, meaning exactly the same thing.

From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:

tr.v. en·ti·tled
To give a name or title to

tr.v. ti·tled
To give a title to; entitle.

This dictionary actually DEFINES the word titled to mean entitled. How much clearer can you be?

Now, there are other definitions of both words that don't overlap, some of which are mentioned below, but the usage you ask about is the very one that is synonymous, so you are completely correct to use either interchangeably.

porsche March 5, 2006, 5:55am

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It only only be "She read a book entitled...". No question.

Holly March 30, 2006, 9:58am

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It could only be "She read a book entitled...". No question. That's what I meant to type, sorry, tired today.

Holly March 30, 2006, 10:00am

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I always find it funny when folks on the TV say stuff like, "My latest rap song entitled..." They just sound soooo ignunt! Why cain't they realize what they sayin is ignunt and git off the TV?

yourmama January 14, 2007, 9:39pm

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A number of the question's responses confuse the verbal usage of "entitled" with the adjectival usage of entitle, referring to a "just claim to recieve or do something."

Its seems the verbal usage of the words are very similar. The definition, according to the OED, of the verbal usage of "title" is

"give a name to (a book, composition, or other work)".

The word originally denoted a placard or inscription placed on an object.

The definition of the verbal usage of "entitle" is

"give (something, especially a text or work of art) a particular title"

and, archaically,

"give (someone) a specified title expressing their rank, office, or character".

It seems, technically, "title" is in reference to an object, and "entitle" is in reference to a person. However, in modern usage, the definition of the words is it the same; "entitle refers specifically, if we assume writing is an art, to art, including literature, painting, sculpting, music, and dancing.

iluminatus93 October 10, 2010, 10:50am

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imho porsche's comment is the one to follow if wanting to get the issue clearer

bluebone October 5, 2011, 8:26pm

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Yes     No