Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Entitled to be Titled

Buzz from Traverse City called in a pet peeve. He said he flinches when he sees a sentence such as the following: “The book is entitled the Art of Fishing.” He maintains that the word should be titled.

That’s been my practice, too, but it seems that we are both on shifting sands here. The Chicago Manual of Style Blog characterizes the strict distancing of titled and entitled as a zombie rule. Both words are synonyms when they mean named.

The use of “a book entitled” turns out to be older than “a book titled.” Google Books Ngram Viewer makes that quite clear:

While both words are synonyms when they mean named, titled has surged to the forefront in recent times when talking about the name of a book, article, film, song, etc. That’s because entitled – thanks to government – is often saved to mean having a legal right to something. American entitlements are programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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