The Definition Essay
Bethany Robinson
When Using Definition:
• Explain the meaning of a term or concept in
order to shed new light on it
– The purpose is to sho...
How to Use It
• Stipulated definition:
– Uses highly personal definition of a word
– Asks readers to agree to this “spin” ...
Focus
• Usually objective or subjective
– Objective: seeks to inform reader; usually doesn’t
contain the preferences or op...
When Writing the Essay…
• Choose a topic
– Think about purpose
– Avoid something that is too large or too vague
– Consider...
When Writing the Essay…(Cont.)
• Organize
– Be logical and balanced
• Draft
– Write a rough version of your essay that can...
When Writing the Essay… (Cont.)
• Use brief definitions
– Don’t define too broadly
– Don’t define too narrowly
– Don’t use...
When Writing the Essay… (Cont.)
• Use negative definitions
– Sometimes, defining something by what it is not is
more effec...
The Task of Negro Womanhood
• What is being defined?
• How is the subject defined in terms of race?
• Does this new defini...
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The definition essay

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The definition essay

  1. 1. The Definition Essay Bethany Robinson
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. When Writing the Essay…(Cont.) • Organize – Be logical and balanced • Draft – Write a rough version of your essay that can be edited and rewritten
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. 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?
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