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Definition Essay Assignment Sheet Purpose To learn the development and structure
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To learn the development and structure of a definition essay including, but not limited to:
creating a thesis statement
writing introduction, supporting, and conclusion paragraphs
properly using/formatting MLA citations and a Works Cited page
For this assignment, you will write a Definition essay based on the writing prompt below:
Define an abstract term–for example, stubbornness, security, courage, fear, education, educated person, expertise, skill, special food–what it is and what it means to your family/culture, parent, employee, responsible driver–by making it concrete. You can develop your definition with a series of brief examples that illustrate the characteristic you are defining. Remember, you’ll be adding support from the textbook articles too.
Write an essay defining the term. Assume your audience is made up of students who have not yet taken the course. You may begin with an overview of the term’s origin. Then, develop your essay with examples and analogies that will facilitate your audience’s understanding of the term. Your purpose is to convince readers that understanding the term you are defining is important, which will be accomplished with support from the textbook.
The majority of the essay should be your own words and thoughts, but you need to look for support. You should use the articles we read from the textbook and you may use one reliable website (reference p. 710 for more details). You should cite 1-2 sources total. Remember, this is not a research essay, so only look for a few quotes for support.
These articles include:
Judy Brady, I Want a Wife p. 494+
Jose Antonio Burciaga, Tortillas p. 498+
Virginia Foxx, Stop Calling It “Vocational training” p. 502+
Toni Morrison, Goodness: Altruism and the Literary Imagination p. 506+
To start working on this essay, first read the textbook essays thoroughly. Read the prompts and start thinking about which one you would like to answer. Then re-read the textbook essays and look specifically for ideas that you can apply to your topic. A sample outline is provided in the course content.
Remember: The quoted material of an essay should be about 20%. Most of the writing, 80%, should be your thinking. I want to see YOUR discussion, not someone else’s.
The essay must have a defined introduction ending in a thesis, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The definition’s background and examples need to be clearly addressed in the body.
The thesis must present an idea of purpose for the essay. It needs to answer the essay prompt directly. (See your textbook and thesis information in the course content.)
The paragraphs must be well-developed with details that support the thesis and topic sentences. The sentences must be connected as a cohesive unit within the paragraphs, as well as the essay as a whole.
The essay should be typed and in standard MLA format (including heading, in-text citations, and Works Cited page).
Standard rules of English grammar, punctuation, and spelling apply.
Writing should be in third person (avoid first and second person pronouns as well as referring to vague groupings of people – e.g. I, me, you, we, us, etc.).
Finished essay should be a minimum of 600 words (not including the heading or Works Cited page). Remember, there is no upper limit, but make sure the essay is focused and concise.
Source material should not constitute more than about 20% of your essay.
There should be support for each side of your argument. You may use the article(s) we read from the textbook and/or ONE reliable website. If you have questions about a source’s credibility and/or how to cite properly, ask your instructor before submitting the essay. More information about these components is provided within the course.
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