How to Write a Definition Essay: Quick Guide

How to Write a Definition Essay: Quick Guide

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Need advice on how to write a definition essay? Read our easy guide and learn about the most effective writing techniques and strategies.

How to Write a Definition Essay in 3 Easy Steps

The purpose of writing a definition essay is to define a word, concept or term through explanation by giving your personal commentary on what the specific subject means. You should keep in mind that when writing a definition essay, you have to share your understanding of a certain idea or a thing. You have to gather evidence about different views and concepts on the topic and analyze what they have in common and how they differ. If you are thinking that this task is too complicated for you so you are to ready to outsource it to somebody else and ask “do my papers”, here are some easy tips on how to write a definition essay to boost your confidence.

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 1. Choose a Word or Concept to Define

The most important step in writing a good definition essay is to choose the right word or concept that you are going to define. You should not pick a word or a term for your definition that means some concrete object. For example, such words like cat, coffee or pencil are concrete and they have some physical properties on which the majority people would agree so you will not be able to write much. You should choose a word that is somehow abstract and can have a specific meaning for different people because abstract words have an impact on people’s feelings and not on their physical senses. For example, such words like home, love, talent, intelligence, freedom, etc. are rather abstract and can differ in meaning if interpreted by different people.

So the word that would be a perfect choice to define if it

  • has a complex meaning
  • can mean different things to different people that is the word is disputable

Besides, you should take into account that some words may have multiple meanings or have too broad definitions so you should narrow your topic to a manageable size. It’s better to take a word or a concept that you understand very well because it’s impossible to explain something to other people if you don’t understand it yourself.

 2. Find Appropriate Definition Patterns

You can take a basic dictionary definition as a part of your discussion but you shouldn’t fully rely on it even if you want to show that the dictionary definition is wrong. Your task is to present your own point of view and show your readers a new way of looking at certain things.

There are four basic patterns for writing a definition and you can take one of them or combine some of them. These approaches to defining your chosen word or term are:

  • by structure – describe its parts or how it is organized
  • by function – explain how it works or what it does
  • by analysis – explain to what group a term fits, compare it to something in the group, and show how it differs from other things
  • by opposite definition – explain what the word is not

You can develop your definition in a number of ways. First, you may provide some historical fact about the concept.  Then, you can provide some examples that prove your ideas. You can also analyze the concept or term and contract it to other terms.  You are free to combine different approaches and develop your definition essay using more than one method at once.

3. Support Your Definition with Relevant Examples

You should illustrate your definition with appropriate examples in the body of your essay. You should choose examples and facts that fully support your definition and prove your point of view. You should use clear and specific language to make your examples appealing to your readers and easy-to-understand.

Typically, formal definitions contain 3 parts:

  • the term or concept which has to be defined
  • the general group or class to which the word belongs
  • features that make the term different from other things in the same group

Make sure that your essay has all these parts. You should also explain your reason for defining the word in a certain way, mention the most distinguishing features of the term, and use a story to help your reader understand your definition. When you give your definition, avoid using such words as “when” and “where”. Commonly, we define the noun with a noun and the adjective with an adjective.

You have to finish your essay with a convincing conclusion that will unite all elements of your definition and explain to your readers how they can apply this definition.

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