It may be obvious that a definition essay serves a purpose: it is meant to simply define what something is. It is not always easy to define terms in writing. However, how we define terms can have a wide-reaching impact on individuals and groups.
Take alcoholism, for instance. It depends on the legal, moral and medical contexts in which alcoholism is defined. Lawyers may define alcoholism based on its legality. Parents might define it based on its morality. Doctors, however, will define it based upon its symptoms and diagnostic criteria. You can also think of terms that people are likely to discuss in our larger culture. It has huge implications on the way we define words, such marriage, and Climate Change. This can have an impact on both policy and everyday decisions. You can think about the conversations between couples in which words like engagement, regard, and affection might be needed clarification.
It can be difficult at first to define terms within a relationship or in any other context. However, once you have established a clear definition, it is much easier for people to have productive dialogs. The way people communicate ideas is established by definitions. They are crucial because they set the parameters for a given discourse.
The Structure of a Definition essay
The definition essay starts with a discussion of the term. Your thesis should be your definition.
The rest should explain your reasoning for the definition. Don't forget that the dictionary definition is not exhaustive and should not be relied upon. Instead, think about the context where you are using the word. Context indicates the context, conditions, or setting within which something is or happens. Words can take on different meanings depending if they are used in the right context. The ideal leader in a battle setting might be different from the one you see in elementary school. An essay that lacks context may be too brief, confusing, or misunderstood.
The essay's remainder should cover different aspects of each term's definition. You might, for example, define a good leader within an elementary classroom setting by determining his personality traits. These could include patience, consistency and flexibility. Each attribute would each be discussed in its own paragraph.
Writing a Definition Essay
Select a definition essay topic that is complex enough to allow for lengthy discussions. A word or phrase that is personally relevant can often lead to a more engaging and interesting essay.
After choosing your phrase or word, you should start your essay with an introduction. This will establish the relevance of the term within the selected context. Your thesis is at the end. It should state clearly your definition of each term in the particular context. The purpose of the introduction is to provide a context that will guide readers and avoid misunderstandings.
Each paragraph in the body should explain a different aspect of your definition. To illustrate your points, use strong details and examples. To strengthen your thesis, your conclusion paragraph should include all of the elements from your definition.
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