Essay 4: Definition

Question description

Definition Essay

For this essay sequence, we read the essay “The Perfect Job.” The essay deliberately argues for a specific way of understand the idea of a job, and then a perfect one, but it also interrogates the idea of the person who seeks that job and perfection. The essayist takes a phrase we frequently hear and asks us to think differently about it.

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In Spring 2018 in America, which words are important to us?Which definitions will help us better understand the messages of our politicians and leaders?This essay will move you closer to that better understanding.We’ll take three key terms from major national discussions.

The terms we will define are:

  • Change
  • Hope
  • Principle
  • Reform
  • Solution
  • Courage.

Choose the ONE word from the list that speaks to you.

But what is a definition essay?

In a definition essay, a writer explores the subject by describing the qualities that distinguish it from any other subject.A definition essay defines a word, term, or concept in depth by providing a personal commentary on what the specific subject means.

Most physical objects have a definition about which most people agree.

  • Most people will agree on what trees, windows, computers, and pencils are in general.
  • These objects all have specific physical properties that most people can agree on through the use of their physical senses.

However, abstract terms, such as love, pain, or patriotism, have different meanings for different individuals since such terms play on people’s feelings more than their physical senses.The definition essay provides a personal, extended definition of such terms by linking or comparing the term to a previous definition and by illustrating how that term should be applied.

How do you get started with the definition essay?

You probably know your term well enough so that you can provide specific examples to illustrate your definition.At the same time, the term you’re assigned may seem too broad or general since pinning it down to a single definition is very difficult.This is where your narrowing skills come into play.The clustering exercise below will help you narrow your term and find some specific examples or associations you can use.

Journalling Exercise

Clustering as a Way of Locating Your Definition Material

Using the following central questions, use clustering to try and gather as much material as you can for your definition.

  • What is this term NOT?
  • What is my own definition for this word?Why?
  • How does one live or perform this word?
  • What are the characteristics of this term?
  • What are some similar terms or words that mean similar things?
  • How is this term different from other similar terms or different from what most people might think?

Outline your paper carefully

Outlining will help you determine the specific points you want to cover in the definition and point out where you need examples.

I. Introduction

A. Attention getter

1. You may want to include a limited, tiny version of the traditional or dictionary definition here to provide a basis for your personal definition.

2. You may want to open with a contradictory image to what would be your image to illustrate that definition.

B. Thesis: State how you define the term. If you can write the definition using specific points, you will find the definition easier to follow when writing the paper.

II. Body

A. Background information:

1. Often unnecessary in this type of paper

2. However, you may need to provide some background about the term or your connection to the term.You might want to include ways the term is used (or misused) in the current campaigns and then work with or against that.

B. Point one

1. The first part of your definition of the term.

2. Example to illustrate that point.

3. Analysis of how the example illustrates the point.

C. Point two

1. The second part of the definition of the term.

2. Example to illustrate that point.

3. Analysis of how the example illustrates the point.

D. Point three

1. The third part of the definition (if there is one)

2. Example to illustrate that point.

3. Analysis of how the example illustrates the point.

E. Point four, etc.

III. Conclusion

A. Review your definition’s main points

B. Closing attention getter

1. Sometimes a reference back to the opening attention-getter is a good way of unifying the entire essay.

2. You may want to close with an explanation of how your definition has affected you.

Writing the definition essay

  • Make sure that you have a good, specific thesis that tells readers just how you will define the term.
  • Follow your outline to remind yourself when you need examples and analysis of those examples.
    • Modify your outline when you think you need to.
  • Use good, specific examples to illustrate each point.
    • Examples allow readers to visualize how the definition can be applied.
    • You may need to do research (you could look at the campaign websites, for instance) to find good examples.
  • Provide good transitions to link all parts of the essay.
  • Have a good conclusion that brings the parts of the definition together and leaves readers with an image of how the definition is applied.
  • Proofread carefully.

Essay Rubric

Essay Rubric
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization/attention to mode and assignmentOrganization is the physical structure of your paper, including the way you group those original ideas. If you have organizational issues, I mark the areas in which you’re struggling and try to give you advice. Attention to mode means exactly that: if we are writing a narrative, as in essay 2, you use narrative tactics and tell a story. If we are writing in process mode, you show the steps of the process. And so on. Attention to the assignment is also pretty clear. It means that, if I’ve asked you to write in a certain mode about a certain topic, you do that. If I ask you to include no outside information or sourced material, you go with that instruction.
2.5ptsFull Marks 0.0ptsNo Marks
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIdeas/ThinkingI expect you to do your prewriting and think fresh, original thoughts, thoughts that are unique to you and your experience. If you’ve plagiarized your work, you get a zero in this area.
2.5ptsFull Marks 0.0ptsNo Marks
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeStyle and DictionDiction is simply word choice. If you have issues finding the best word to express your thoughts, again, I will point that out and make suggestions. Some students make bad diction choices when they use a thesaurus to try and make their writing sound more sophisticated. Please don’t use a thesaurus. Instead, increase your active vocabulary by READING MORE. Style is really about the sophistication of your expression. If you have awkward expression, or if you write the way you speak, I will mark you out on style.
2.5ptsFull Marks 0.0ptsNo Marks
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMechanicsThese are nagging concerns such as commas, comma splices, run on sentences, spelling, and apostrophe issues. I do mark these issues in at least half of your essays each time. You can look into the online handbook for rules (and remedies).
2.5ptsFull Marks 0.0ptsNo Marks
Total Points: 10.0
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