Friday, June 17, 2011

grammar lesson: titled v. entitled

This isn't actually a grammar lesson. It's more of an opinion.

In my opinion...

Titled should always and only refer to how a book/article/movie/etc. is named. What title it has been given. "In 2010, I published a peer-reviewed article titled Red Vines are Far Superior to Twizzlers in Every Way."

Entitled should always and only refer to being given special privileges. "I gave birth to you, therefore I am entitled to eat chocolate behind your back after saying you couldn't have any more."

Unfortunately, entitled can be used in both contexts. This drives me crazy. I wish we could ban the sentence, "I read a book entitled This Word Might Be the End of Me."

You may wonder why this bothers me. You see, I am the person in charge of reviewing (and editing/correcting) 100 different self-praising narratives written by our students' detailing their accomplishments as part of their applications to medical residencies. And all the students publish articles/books/anything-that-sounds-impressive. Half the students use the word titled. Half use entitled. Because both are technically correct, I just have to leave their narratives as is. Ugh. Self restraint is difficult.

Really. This is what keeps me up at night.

{Post edit: I do understand and agree with the morphological reasons for using "entitled" for books and articles. It's just the connotation of "entitled" that makes me want to use it only for designating priviledge.)

1 comment:

Jenni said...

This makes me think of the regardless vs. irregardless argument. Lots of people like to use irregardless as if it were a real word. But, really, there's already a word that has that definition. No need to make up a new one. Just use regardless - a real, live English word that can be found in the dictionary. What really irks me is the fact that the word irregardless has become so prevalent that it's just accepted now and actually appears in dictionaries, although "it is generally listed in dictionaries as 'incorrect' or 'nonstandard'."

I'm sorry that I'm on my soapbox on YOUR blog talking about grammar/word things. You just got me all fired up! I hate the usage of the word (or nonword) irregardless!