Definition Essay

The Definition Essay identifies an intangible noun (freedom, love, friendship, peace), and then attempts to define it using both denotative and connotative means. This can be done with example, historical references, and writer inferences. For example, to define “love,” the author might draw from dictionary definitions “personal attachment,” and also historical references “the concept of ‘romantic love’ began in the medieval ages, alongside chivalry and romance.” The writer might also distinguish between familial love, parental love, God’s love, and erotic love. The challenge is realizing how many different ways an intangible noun can be defined, when connotative uses, as well as examples and negations are recognized and used. It may help to imagine that you are explaining the concept to a Martian. You must have a clear thesis in the first paragraph and address both denotative and connotative uses of your word. Definition essays are most powerful when the writer enters into the investigation with a sense of wonder.

 

 

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