don’t judge a thesis by its title

I hate the academic colon. I think it is a specious piece of punctuation that, when applied to the title of a work, cries out for abuse via the lame pun.

I am the first to admit gratuitous cringe-worthy use of the colon and its licensing of the pop-culture reference/foreign phrase/alliterative list, but I want to stand up and be counted among those who wish to use a strong, active statement as the title for a work.

It’s just the colon is so tempting. So easy. A temptress of multiple keywords and simple specificity.

Yes, I have to finalise my thesis title today. WOEZ.

6 thoughts on “don’t judge a thesis by its title”

  1. Are you kidding? I’m in an anthropology department. I am surrounded by the (*&^$S*!! colon. There was pressure to use the colon. Everything I read has colons. Not an imaginary enemy, no! 🙂

  2. We love the colon in Literature Departments, too, though I imagine ours are more fun than yours. You’d feel differently about it if only you could call your thesis something like “Tilting (at) Colons: Pressing Anality in [insert name of work]”; or “‘Stuff and Nonsense’: Rubbishing Rosie in Hobbit Slash”; or “Wild(e)ing Forster: What’s Got Up Howards End?”


  3. I only now found this post. I am adding this comment regardless, for one reason: Most of us need flashing lights to recognize the hilarity that this this phrase:

    It’s just that the colon is so tempting

    Y’all are either too close to your disciplinary discourse, or else far too cerebral in your irony.

    Thanks for this site – it is more tempting (to me, anyway) than a colon.


Leave a Comment