How to write a definition essay

Writing a definition essay can be tricky. Every day, thousands of students receive poor grades because they weren’t sure how to proceed.

Of course, the ultimate cause for this failure is our struggling school systems and ineffective teachers… but that is a topic for another time.

Why is writing a definition essay difficult

Most students misunderstand the concept of the definition essay because of the way we commonly use the phrase “definition.” We typically only use the word “definition” when referring to a dictionary. Students understand that virtually every word is in the dictionary with a short description of what it means.

But defining something can go much further than the thirty to forty words used by Webster to explain a term.

The essay type is further confused when you consider the fact that physical objects are defined with simple properties. It is easy for us to define a desk, tree, rock, or even a person.

Definition essays focusing on these topics are typically failures, except when handled by the finest of writers.

So, how do you write good definition essays ?

For most students writing about more abstract topics will lead to better definition essays. Defining a movement, genre of music, or emotion will provide more opportunity to prepare a fully fleshed paper.

Think about the concept of love or hate. These can’t simply be described and justified with a few words. What does love feel like to you? How does it feel to others? How does your love differ between a friend, parent, child, and significant other? How about hate? These are topics that make great definition essays.

What about a movement? The civil rights movement, the women’s rights movements, and even the counter culture movements of computer geeks all have serious implications on our society. Defining these movements and the changes in which they resulted will also provide great definition essays.

But sometimes you may be challenged to write a definition essay on things, such as the previously mentioned desk. It’s also possible to write great essays on these topics with just a few tips. When you are defining a physical object focus on what it is not just as much as you focus on what it is. Why is a table not a desk? Why is a chair not a desk? What are the differences between them, and what’s the same?

When you have found these things present in your writing you have created a great definition essay. It doesn’t matter what you’re defining. If you follow the tips in this article you will succeed.

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