Merriam-Webster and many other dictionaries defines Title as something that can be used instead of the Name of that thing. For example, based on what I understood, it seems logical to use these sentences interchangeably:

  1. What is the name of the book you're reading?
  2. What is the title of the book you're reading?

My question is, how can we understand the scope of things which are included in this rule? For example, can we use title instead of the name of a person, like his title is Jack instead of his name is Jack? Is there any general rule for this?

  • Where do you get the idea that 'title' can be used synonymously for a proper noun? I think that's where you'll find the boundary of the rule you're looking for lies. – Leon Conrad Mar 17 '14 at 9:10
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    Name and title are not synonymous. Title refers to, e.g. The President of the United States instead of Barack Obama, or White House Chief of Staff instead of Denis McDonough. – anongoodnurse Mar 17 '14 at 9:13
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    They do overlap; 'Kidnapped' is the name / title of a famous children's book. And a proper noun. This is one of those 'hyponymy w synonyny' minefields: some usages of 'name' and 'title' match; others conflict. OP should do a bit of research, starting perhaps here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 17 '14 at 9:44
  • Dear @Susan, that's why I'm asking this question. I now they're not synonymous. I just don't know where they might be used interchangeably. – Saeed Neamati Mar 17 '14 at 10:22
  • They are synonymous. Synonyms are defined as words that are interchangeable for some senses. No words are interchangeable for all senses, so the term would be meaningless if this were the criterion. And even where words are deemed interchangeable, there is going to be some slight difference in connotation. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 17 '14 at 22:55

There is a fairly simple answer to this question:

They are interchangeable when the name of something is its title.

Songs, books, articles, etc. have titles for names.

People, generally do not.

His title would only be Jack if he were appointed the Jack (or it was a heritable title). (The Third Jack of Parsippany, or some such nonsense.)

Otherwise, it's his name.

Also, titles do not automatically become names for people. The Prince of Wales is still named Charles, no matter his titles and styles.

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