Getting Married Young and Divorce with a Kid!


topic of a paper

See example:

Getting Married Young and Divorce with a Kid!
asked Oct 29 '12 at 21:20 timothy New member

2 answers


What do you want to know? It is always helpful to ask a question so we are not left guessing.


Let me take a guess. No, this is not a good topic for a paper. A better topic might be "Asymmetric Warfare in the American West: 1870-1880" or perhaps "East Coast Sportswriter's Bias Against West Coast Sports Teams."


Do that answer your question? No. How about you have used the wrong verb tense in the second half of your title. Getting Married Young and Divorced with a Kid! Or Getting Married Young and Divorcing with a Kid! Or Getting Married Young and then Divorced with a Kid!

link comment answered Oct 29 '12 at 23:42 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

In response to J. Kaaare:


Okay, the title being a fragment and not a complete sentence introduces uncertainty into the meaning of the title. Is "divorce" a noun or a verb? I took it, as I believe most will, as a verb. And as a verb, it is in the wrong tense. Why?


Again, I had to make an assumption, Divorce is the plural present, but we usually speak about divorce in the singular. Hence my assumption. Further, we usually talk about divorce in the past or future tenses. Again, I am making an assumption because the title is a fragment -- and the author did not bother to ask a question that might help us. While I was not relying on parallelism, the fact that "getting" is a present participle -- meaning it took place in the indeterminant past and may be incomplete -- also led me to believe the past tense was warranted for "divorce."


I suppose you can look at "divorce" as a noun. But the title offers little to help the reader in that direction. While misleading or misdirecting the reader is a legitimate rhetorical trick, the topic title is a place where the writer should want the reader to have full understanding. If the writer wants us to read it as a noun, the title should be rewritten to make that meaning clear. 


I also suppose you can read "divorce" as a metaphor. But again, the title offers little to suggest that is the case. Again, the writer owes it to the reader to make sure that metaphor is what was intended. I don't mean to suggest that metaphor must be telegraphed, but if the reader does not recongnize it as such, then the writer has failed.


Finally, a broken rule is a broken rule. You can write effectively and creatively without resorting to broken rules. And if breaking a rule proves necessary, the Chicago Manual of Style offers a solution -- "scare quotes". These tell the reader you are purposefully doing something nonstandard -- and that you know that you are doing it.

link comment edited Oct 30 '12 at 05:57 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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