Monday, July 16, 2012

This Post Is Titled "Stop Incorrectly Using 'Entitled'!"


Oh, sorry, did you hear that? That was steam coming out of my ears. Here's why:

In its "125th commemorative issue," Sporting News referenced a book it published called Best by Number. In doing so, Sporting News used a word in a way that never fails to get me steamed. So, I'm having a hissy fit. Go figure.

If the smartest person in the world does something wrong, that doesn't make it right. If a billion people do something wrong, that doesn't make it right. If the editors of dictionaries allow entitled and titled to be used interchangeably, that doesn't make it right. We already have a word that means titled. It's ... drumroll, please ... titled!

Despite growing trends and popular opinion, the hardcover book Sporting News published in 2005 is not "entitled Best by Number." It's "titled Best by Number."

Use entitled when you need a word that means a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled. I'd say you're entitled to use entitled as a substitute for titled, but I just can't. I won't.


  1. I agree that they should use titled but it does seem like and Merriam-Webster offer a definition of "to give a title to". gives this example:
    "What was the book entitled?"


    Merriam-Webster gives this example:
    Examples of ENTITLE:

    He entitled his book “My Life on Mars.”

    So maybe it technically correct but not preferred?

    1. Oh, I’m well aware that dictionaries — both online and print versions — offer “to give a title to” as a definition for “entitled.” It’s my contention, however, that they should NOT do so. I don’t think it’s right, and I’m taking a “title” role in the fight. I’m taking a stand against the editorial staffs at dictionaries worldwide; they are not entitled to promote this unnecessary definition of “entitle.”

  2. Hey John, I am thinking you didn't truly read Owen's latest blog post or you wouldn't have stated what you did.

    Owen (and myself) are well aware that the dictionaries now use titled and entitled interchangeably. But it wasn't always this way. The fact is, dictionaries began doing this to cater to the ignorance and stupidity of people.

    Another example for instance: Dictionaries now show the pronunciation of the word "aunt" as both aunt and ant. This. Is. Wrong. The word was always pronounced as it was spelled: A-U-N-T. Then some morons started saying it wrong. Now, most everyone says that word wrong, so the dictionaries give in and add ant as a pronunciation for the word "aunt."

    The dictionary should never give in to poor English, poor grammar, poor spelling etc. of the idiots of the world. But sadly they do. As Owen said, if a billion people do/say a stupid thing, it's still a stupid thing. What's next? Are arithmetic books going to change answers because people keep getting the wrong answer? It's just as preposterous as what the dictionaries have done.

    - Paul

  3. I totally understand what John was saying - even after reading Owen's post. It seems preposterous that dictionaries would change a definition of a word based upon its misuse. It does not make any sense whatsoever! And you're right - an arithmetic book would never change an answer so why on earth would a dictionary. It's just so bizarre!