2 What is definition?Tells what a term means and how it differs from other termsFormal definitions: brief, succinct explanations of what words meanExtended definition: longer, more complex definitions.Lays foundation to establish a common ground.Explains the special qualities that identify a purpose, place, object, or concept and distinguish it from others that are similar to it.Expands on and examines essential qualities of a policy, event, group, or trend.
3 Understanding formal definitions Term naturalism Class a literary movement Differentiation Whose original adherents believed that writers should treat life with scientific objectivityTerm authority Class a power Differentiation To command and require obedience
4 Understanding Extended Definitions Includes the three basic parts of a formal definition – the term, its class, and its distinguishing characteristicsThen “extended” part of the definition, adding further description of or about the term(1—term) Chris Smith(2 – class) is a student at George Washington College(3 – summary/description) He is 19, is working on an engineering degree, and is from Chicago, Illinois.
5 Using DefinitionUse formal definition when a word has several meaningsExtended definitions useful in explaining abstractions such as freedom, controversial terms such as right to life, or slang termsIn extended definition essays, a brief formal definition can introduce readers to the extended definition, or to help support the essay’s thesis
6 Purpose Explain, entertain, establish a standard. To persuade To clarifyIdentify areas of conflict
7 effect Informs audience Ensures that writers and audiences are on the same page.Sets values for the audience to relate to.Ex. An AP class to a regular student as to an AP class to an overachiever.
8 FunctionHelp create argumentSupport thesis and evidence
9 Audience Sets a social context. Open to interpretation. Establishes the time period.Ex. “bad” then, “bad” now
10 Example #1“Good families prize their rituals. Nothing welds a family more than these. Rituals are vital especially for clans without histories because they evoke a past, imply a future, and hint at continuity… A clan becomes more of a clan each time it gathers to observe a fixed ritual(Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving), grieves at a funeral, ( anyone may come to most funerals; those who do declare their tribalness), and devises a new rite of its own.”Jane Howard “In Search of the Good Family”
11 Example #2“I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs…I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties…I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life…I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs…”Judy Brady “I Want a Wife”
12 How to use definition Using synonyms (words with similar meanings) Using negation (telling what it is not)Using numeration (listing its characteristics)Using analogies (comparisons identifying similarities between the term and sometime dissimilar)Discussing its origin and development (the word’s derivation, original meaning, and usages)
13 Phrasing your definition Provide true definition, not just descriptive statementRepetition is not definition (don’t include defining term in the definition)Define as precisely as possible
14 How is Classification and division different from definition? Classification and Division breaks down larger concepts into parts.Definition defines those concepts but does not categorize them.
15 Why is it not Description? “Blessed is he who found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. He has a work, a life purpose, he has found it, and will follow it! How, as a free- flowing channel, dug an torn by noble force throughout the sour mud-swamp of one's existence, like an ever-deepening river there, it runs and flows; -- draining off the sour festering water, gradually from the root of the remotest grass blade; making, instead of pestilential swamp, a green fruitful meadow with its clear- flowing stream." Labour by Thimas CarlyleDescription uses sensory detailsDefinition states your stance or argument for the subject
16 Why is it not Exemplification? "The trouble with the clans and tribes many of us were bit into is not that the consist of meddlesome ogres but that they lie too far away. In emergencies we rush across continents and if need be oceans to their sides, as they do to ours." In Search of the Good Family by Jane HowardExemplification provides examples and concrete details to back up an assertion or claim.Definition further describes what’s been stated
17 How to write a definition essay Intro ¶Should include a generic definition of your term or even an attention grabbing fact.Gives contradiction to your term to provide contrast.Ends by giving author’s definition that is going to expand throughout the essay.
18 How to write a definition essay Body ¶’s 2-4Further description and details about the subject.One or several relevant examples.A description of the subject in action or use.A background/history of the subject.Includes first component of your definition.Give analysis for how the example substantiates your definition.
19 How to write a definition essay Conclusion ¶Give an overview of your above pointsSay something particularly interesting about subject
20 Editing checklist: Definition Avoid using is when and is where in your formal definitionsExampleINCORRECT: According to Paul Fussell, an honorific uniform is where people get a neutral or positive impression.CORRECT: According to Paul Fessell, an honorific uniform is a uniform that conveys a neutral or positive impression.Use present tense for your definition – even if past tense is used elsewhere in the essay
21 Precis Being a Man by Paul Theroux 1. In Being a Man, (1985) Paul Theroux argues that the concept of masculinity involves being “stupid, unfeeling, obedient, soldierly”, creating an unrealistic model of the average man.2. Theroux eliminates this opinion by defining the stereotypical “masculine man” by saying that men should not be forced to be barbaric but to be more of a gentleman and believes that this is “emotionally damaging” and “socially harmful.”3. He compares masculinity and femininity in order to encourage males not to conform to the social expectations put in place, but rather embrace their individual dispositions.4. Theroux addresses both men and women who feel obligated to live by the gender stereotype, hoping to gain empathy from the reader.
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