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11.3: Tips for Writing the Definition Essay

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    The definition essay as a rhetorical mode demonstrates a writer’s ability to present a particular view of new language or an analysis of society’s evolving understanding of old concepts. The purpose can be either expository or argumentative, used as support for another essay mode, or an entire essay itself. Rather than applying the “tried and true” literal dictionary definition of a word or idea, an extended definition is often an argument for applying connotations and contexts that help clarify the complexities of greater social issues and establishing boundaries for shared understanding and appreciation for user-friendly terminology.

    Topic Ideas

    • Addict/addiction/alcoholic
    • Patriotic/patriotism
    • Dance as a sport
    • An athlete
    • Health/fitness
    • Home
    • Hero
    • Vacation
    • Family or marriage
    • Extreme sports
    • Hate crimes
    • Education/educated
    • Political terms
    • Field/discipline specific terms
    • Parenting terms
    • Organic
    • Leadership

    Chapter Questions for Comprehension

    Be complete in your explanations and cite examples from the chapter if appropriate. Use complete sentences with proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.

    1. When would a writer need to use definition approach?
    2. What are three types of definition?
    3. Explain the difference between concrete and abstract topics and concepts.

    11.3: Tips for Writing the Definition Essay is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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