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Humanities Libertexts

12.3: Defining Terms Appropriately

  • Page ID
    56627
  • Now it is your turn to go about clarifying all the terms that you use in your work. For something you are writing, you are to go through your main arguments first (and every other part, if you have the time) very slowly and cautiously examining every keyword you use and ask yourself the following:

    • What do I want to say here?
    • Is this sentence saying what I want it to?
    • Are these words expressing what I want them to?
    • Are there better words to use? (ie, more precise vocabulary)
    • Are there any structural problems getting in the way? Do your thoughts and sentences flow into each other and appear in the right order?
    • If you have to use ambiguous words, have you defined them using an appropriate technique?
    • Is the vocabulary you have chosen appropriate for your purposes? Do you need to use different vocabulary or methods of speech?

    Very seriously considering each of these questions at every step in your writing will keep you quite busy.