modern english 1

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Basic Features of the Definition Essay

Choose one of the following terms to define for your essay:

  • Kindness
  • Acceptance
  • Respect
  • Success
  • Dedication
  • Tolerance
  • Patience

The essay must appeal to the reader with new and interesting information.

A logical plan. You must clearly cue the reader with strategies such as a clear thesis and smooth transitions.

Clear definitions. Make sure key terms associated with the topic are defined.

Careful use of sources, own experiences, and observations. The OED and one peer-reviewed article obtained from the Troy University databases must be used and must be documented in correct MLA8 standard format. Any other sources that you use must be correctly documented in MLA8 standard format as well. These sources are not to take up more than 5% of the essay. Your own experiences and observations are to take up at least 95% of the essay.

I will be posting videos that will help with documentation. You must have a works cited page and correct parenthetical documentation within the essay.

The Definition Essay’s Structure

  • Introduction‒ This must include a generic definition of your term or even an attention-grabbing fact or surprising fact from the Oxford English Dictionary, which must be documented in correct MLA8 format. Then, you may, but not necessary, give a contradiction to your term to contrast it. End your introduction by giving a direct, explicit thesis, explaining the main message of the essay. You may write this in the form of a forecasting statement (thesis statement that forecasts the supporting ideas/subtopics). Refer to “Cannibalism.”
  • Body‒ In your essay’s body, you need to provide several different points that construct the definition. You must provide background information. Each point should have its own paragraph.
    • Point 1: This will include the first component of your definition. You will need to give your analysis/details for how the example substantiates your definition.
    • Point 2: This is the second aspect of your term. Once again, give an example and provide analysis/details.
    • Point 3 and additional points: Continue with examples and analysis/details until you are satisfied that you have completely developed your definition.

You may use any of the techniques listed discussed in class, including but not limited to description, narration, cause and effect, comparison and contrast, and exemplification.

  • Conclusion‒ Your conclusion must give an overview of the points. The attention grabber at the beginning of your essay should be brought back in to tie everything neatly together. (Refer to the “Cannibalism” essay)


All sources must be documented correctly.

The essay must follow correct MLA8 format.

The essay must be a minimum of 500 words.

Proofread closely.

Write in third person. First or second person is allowed only in direct quotes.

No contractions; no slang or clichés.

We will not peer edit this essay.

April 6, 2020: Upload the paper to Canvas or the paper will receive an F (Zero). No hard copies will be turned in.

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