How to write a Definition Essay

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How to write a Definition Essay
Definition essays aren’t difficult to write. By a definition
essay, we mean an essay that defines what a term means. This could be a
concrete term, such as “Egg” or “Water”, or abstract, like “Honor” or
“Friendship” or the done-to-death (死心塌地)“Love”. The topic is usually
general, and being so broad, the approach is completely up to the writer;
whether he wishes it to be serious or humorous, general or specific. There
are a few basic guidelines that will aid you in writing a good definition
essay.
1)
Know what term is being defined, and explain it clearly to the
reader. BUT dictionary definitions will only sound pedantic
學究氣的
and uninteresting. Define the term in your own words, and adding a bit
of a personal touch is always welcome to the reader.
2)
Present understandable information. Hazy 模糊的 and uneven 不對
稱的 details and abstract ramblings 漫談,聊天 will not make the essay
readable or comprehensible.
3) Add personality to your essay. Put in anecdotes(軼事,趣聞), personal
bits of information (not necessarily the skeletons in your closet) and
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other memorabilia(值得紀念的事物). If you enjoy writing the essay, the
reader will certainly enjoy reading it.
There are different ways that you can go about defining a term. The simple
Webster’s definition will not help you garner(獲得)the interest of the
reader, and in many cases, the definition is less understandable than the
term itself. The different methods to make the topic more understandable
are listed and explained below:
Analysis: The subject may be separated into different parts and those
parts could be described separately. For example, if the topic is love,
then the many types of love could be explained individually. The writer
may start with platonic love, then romantic love, unrequited(無報答
的)love, and first love.
Comparison: By comparing the subject to something else, it might make
it more lucid to the reader. If the topic is Communism, then comparing
it to capitalism or socialism, may make the concept of communism much
clearer.
Details: providing the reader with the physical and internal attributes,
conceptual background and traditional thoughts of the subject is another
way of making it more apparent to the reader.
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Negation: Pointing out what the subject is not, may make what it is clearer
to the reader. An essay on Hinduism I read started by stating that Hinduism
was NOT Christianity, and then began pointing out the dissimilarities
between the two religions. This was a very effective beginning.
Examples and Anecdotes (趣聞): when explaining a very abstract concept,
the best way to make your meaning clear is by giving examples. When
defining “truth” for instance, a well-placed ( 適 當 的 ) story
highlighting the truthfulness of a person may make a greater impact than
a theoretical rambling 長而離題的文章 on what truth could or could not mean.
Origins and Causes: discussing the background of a topic may also help.
If you are writing about “fire” such as, then theorizing on how fire
may have been discovered will add interest to your essay.
Results, effects, and causes: topics such as “Racism” or “Poverty”
cannot be truly discussed without describing the effects that they render
反映 on the human psyche. Similarly topics such as “Pollution” and
“Global warming” lack poignancy(辛辣) if the results and causes are
not mentioned.
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Definition essays are the perfect opportunity to let your wit and
imagination run wild 毫無約束. Remember to make your essay amusing,
poignant, personal and thus memorable to the reader.
Courage
Courage is the quality of being brave when you are facing something that
is dangerous or that you fear. For example, a soldier who goes into battle
shows courage. A paramedic(醫務輔助人員) who crawls into a collapsed
building to help an injured person also shows courage. However, you don’t
have to be a soldier or a paramedic to be courageous. You can display courage
in everyday situations, too. For instance, a shy person who is afraid of
speaking in public shows courage when he or she gives a speech at school or
at work. A teenager who resists peer pressure to smoke, drink, or try drugs
shows courage. To give another example, my friend Angela, who is terrified
of flying, recently took her first airplane flight. As she walked onto the
plane, she was trembling with fear, but she didn’t give in to her fright.
To me, Angela entering that airplane was as brave as a soldier entering
battle.
Christmas Spirit
Christmas spirit is a joyous feeling that results from the anticipation
of a wondrous 令人驚奇的 celebration. It is a feeling of excitement people
get as they walk through the mall and realize Christmas carols (聖誕頌歌)
are filtering through the speaker system. It is the tingle(感到刺痛)they
get when their eyes catch the snow and tinsel(金銀箔) shimmering 閃爍
in store windows draped(裝飾) in red and green. When they step outside and
feel the brisk(寒冷而清新的), cold wind brush(微風輕輕吹過)their faces,
Christmas spirit is the hope for a white December 25, the hope for the beauty
of quarter-sized snowflakes floating down to blanket (覆蓋) a frozen earth.
Christmas spirit is the joy of helping people. It is Mr. Jones shoveling the
walk of an elderly neighbor, or Mrs. Smith distributing loaves of her
Christmas bread to shelters and halfway houses(中途之家--假釋犯的緩衝期),
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or children collecting toys for the poor. No, Christmas spirit has not been
commercialized, as some say. It is the special excitement people feel as they
look forward to the one day of the year devoted exclusively to peace and love.
Assignment:
Title: Patience (寫 100-150 字)
Topic Sentence: Patience means the ability to continue doing something even
if you do not see any results immediately.
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