When Using Definition: Explain the meaning of a term or concept in order to shed new light on it The purpose is to show readers a new way of looking at a concept. Can sometimes have goal of changing attitude.
How to Use It Stipulated definition: Uses highly personal definition of a word Asks readers to agree to this “spin” on a term’s meaning Extended definition Entire essay is devoted to exploring the meaning of a term or concept Also usually used to show reader a new way of looking at something
Focus Usually objective or subjective Objective: seeks to inform reader; usually doesn’t contain the preferences or opinion of the writer Subjective: represents the writer’s personal definition of a term or concept Rarely is a definition completely objective or completely subjective; the focus is more on one than the other.
When Writing the Essay… Choose a topic Think about purpose Avoid something that is too large or too vague Consider what reader already knows and what will interest them Prewrite Think about what you are trying to define Explore different ways to define it
When Writing the Essay…(Cont.) Organize Be logical and balanced Draft Write a rough version of your essay that can be edited and rewritten
When Writing the Essay… (Cont.) Use brief definitions Don’t define too broadly Don’t define too narrowly Don’t use circular definitions Don’t omit the category or type
When Writing the Essay… (Cont.) Use negative definitions Sometimes, defining something by what it is not is more effective than merely defining what it is.
The Task of Negro Womanhood What is being defined? How is the subject defined in terms of race? Does this new definition enlighten the reader? What do the internal definitions say about the subject?