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What To Write In A Definition Essay: Helpful Recommendations From An Expert


If a student is assigned to write a definition essay, he or she has to choose a certain word or notion and explain it. From the first sight the task seems to be quite easy, but you’ll face a great deal of problems in the process of doing it. Many students are puzzled over the content of the essay. They ask themselves what to write about.

Thus, to have a good research paper of this kind with appropriate content, take into account the following helpful recommendations.

  1. Choose a right term.
  2. Terms can be different. For example, glass, book, or house, are material terms while love, friendship, or hatred belong to the group of abstract notions. It’s better to define an abstract word as it has a complex meaning, and you’ll have enough information to write about. Moreover, its explanation mostly depends on the writer’s point of view. Choose a familiar word or phrase not to have problems with its definition. Limit a term if it has a great variety of meanings, for example, instead of “love” write about “eternal love” or “romantic love”.

  3. Define a term in your own words.
  4. Study several sources to see how the meaning of the term is explained. You shouldn’t copy a definition from a dictionary and paste it into the essay. Apply your knowledge and experience to create the unique definition. Don’t use “is where” or “is when” while you’re explaining the meaning of a term. Define a noun through object and a verb through action.

  5. Find out the origin of the term.
  6. Every word or phrase has its own history and origin. Thus, overview the literature and find out whether the form and meaning of the term has changed over time.

  7. Provide a detailed analysis.
  8. Divide the term into different parts and define each one. For example, you can separate “leader” from “ship”. In a phrase that consists of two and more words, for example “eternal love”, analyze each word separately.

  9. Classify the term.
  10. Once again look into the dictionary to find out what class and part of the speech the chosen word belongs to. Although the following information is very dry, it can help identify in what contexts the chosen term can be used.

  11. Support the ideas with suitable examples.
  12. Provide the examples, or anecdotes to make the meaning of the term more coherent to the readers. If the word is difficult to define, think of a story to illustrate the idea behind it. If your teacher gave you an unknown word to be explained in the essay, try to find out a synonym or another familiar word that has a close meaning to the term under research.

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