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All about Words: titles and headings

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Titles and headingsBy Mary Morel | August 2017

Titles and headings help make your writing engaging

Journalists understand the power of the title in an online article. Titles are the first thing you read and they must engage your attention.

Take these examples from online newspapers on 18 August 2017.

Rare butterfly spotted in Scotland for the first time since 1884 (Read more)
How do you paint an eclipse? Work fast in the dark (Read more)
Now you can see what Donald Trump sees every time he opens Twitter (Read more)

I discovered that The Sydney Morning Herald has two different titles for its main articles. The first aims to get your attention so you click through, then the second one gives you more details.

‘She went white’: Mother’s terrifying discovery in kid’s toys
Deadly eastern brown snake found wrapped around Gold Coast child’s toys (Read more)

The company owned by Australia’s richest man is suing its workers
Cardboard box and recycling giant Visy launches lawsuit against its workers (Read more)

Read the rest of my blog.

Readers’ questions and the Facebook group

I haven’t received any questions this month, but several questions have been raised in the All about Words Facebook group. The beauty of raising questions in the Facebook group is that several people answer them. We usually agree, but occasionally there is some debate.

Questions posed included:

  • Question marks: Should you use a question mark when the first half of the sentence has the question but you go on with more information? For example, ‘Are you coming to the movies coz I thought we could go for dinner too.’
  • To: ‘prone to experience…’ or ‘prone to experiencing…’?
  • Singular or plural? Verbs with distance, time, money and weight.

Join the Facebook group to find out the answers.

The Facebook group also chatted about irreversible binomials, which was a new term for me. It means two words or phrases that cannot be reversed, such as ‘fish and chips’ (not ‘chips and fish’). How many can you think of?

And someone posted this wonderful cup image (from Tactus Therapy Solutions).

Interesting articles about writing

Scholars talk writing: Helen Sword
Helen Sword has written a book about academic writing that sounds interesting. You may remember her YouTube video on zombie nouns. Read more.

Lucy Kellaway’s top 10 columns
I am a great fan of Lucy Kellaway’s work. Read her top 10 columns and find out why (if you’re not already a fan).

Why can’t college graduates write coherent prose?
This Washington Post article has some practical suggestions on how to improve writing standards.

Where do Australian social media users hang out?

  • 1 in 2 Australians use Facebook on a daily basis, 1 in 5 use Facebook, 1 in 6 use Snapchat
  • Australians are starting to love Whatsapp with 5 million active users

Read more.

What social media do you use? I use Facebook and Whatsapp regularly, but am avoiding Instagram because I don’t want another distraction.

Why kids can’t write
Do you think we’ll ever reach agreement about the best way to teach writing? Read this New York Times article and let me know what you think is the best way to teach writing.

Writing a non-fiction book
For those of you wanting to write a non-fiction book, you may be interested in Debbie Weil’s free e-book. 

Quote of the month

‘Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.’
Louis L’Amour, American author