Which Word Wednesday: Titled vs. Entitled

By August 25, 2010 language No Comments

It’s Wednesday, the day crowned Which Word Wednesday here at The Patch. This post series gives us reason to explore word meanings and usage. Delightful, isn’t it?

Today’s Which Word quandary is a battle between titled and entitled, as in:

This blog is [titled / entitled] Filling My Patch of Sky.

Which word is correct? Or are they interchangeable? Let’s tease out this lexical mystery by checking the Oxford American Dictionary entries for titled and entitled:

Titled :: noun
the name of a book, composition, or other artistic work

Titled :: verb [ trans. ] (usu. be titled)
give a name to (a book, composition, or other work)

Entitled :: verb [ trans. ] (usu. be entitled)
1 give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something
2 give (something, esp. a text or work of art) a particular title; give (someone) a specified title expressing their rank, office, or character

So titled can be either a noun or a verb, but entitled is always a verb.

The first clue to choosing the correct word in the sample sentence can be found by determining if we need a noun or verb in that slot. The sentence has a subject (This blog) and a verb (is)—so it is in need of a noun. Because only titled serves as noun, our dilemma is solved! Easy-peasy! The sentence should be: This blog is titled Filling My Patch of Sky.

Here are some hints and tips for using titled and entitled correctly:

Titled as a Noun: What’s the name?
This blog is titled (named) Filling My Patch of Sky.

Titled or Entitled as a Verb: Who gave the name?
I entitled/titled (gave) my blog the name Filling My Patch of Sky.

[polldaddy poll=3671005]

Entitled as a Verb: Who has the right?
I am entitled (allowed) to name my blog anything I wish, and I choose Filling My Patch of Sky.

My verdict in this WWW? Titled and entitled are only interchangeable as verbs when referring to someone giving or bestowing a name. Use titled when you need a noun to refer to the name of something.

What’s your verdict? Take the poll and share your thoughts in the comments. Go ahead: You’re entitled to your opinion.

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