Word Definition Essay, Rough Draft and Final Draft
The word to define is AMBITION
I need a rough draft, and a final draft.
Write an essay in which you define one word that carries some significance for you by explaining in detail what that word means to you.
A strong definition essay does all of the following:
-Presents a clear definition for the term that is being defined
-Uses examples to show what the writer means (show, don’t tell)
-Gives vivid details about the examples that readers will understand (don’t assume your readers know what you know!)
Tips: You can start by looking up your selected term in the dictionary, (AMBITION) but in order to write an extended definition essay, you will need to move beyond that. What does the word mean to you?
-Present a clear definition for the term that is being defined
-You are required to use first person (I, my, our) in this essay.
-A clever title
-A strong introduction, thesis, and conclusion
-Body paragraphs that focus on one different aspect of the definition presented in the thesis
-Body paragraphs that use descriptive, detailed examples to illustrated what the word means to you
-Follow MLA format
-Your finished essay should be a minimum of 750 words
-No major or distracting grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors
Follow this outline as you write your essay.
I. Start your essay with a hook, not the thesis statement!
Use one of the following strategies:
1. Find an interesting quote about your word.
B. Background information
I. Give some background information about your word by doing the following:
1. Start by providing the dictionary definition of the word.
2. Then, you talk about the origin of the word. What did the word mean thousands of years ago?
When and how was it first used?
3. You can also talk about what most people think of when they hear the word
C. Thesis statement
i. End your introductory paragraph with your thesis statement.
ii. Thesis = the word you’re defining and what it means to you in three points
1. For example, you might say, “To me, being a big sister means being a mentor, a
best friend, and an editor." Notice how there are three points. These points will be
the focus of each body paragraph. The first body paragraph will be about how
being a sister is like being a mentor, the second will be about how being a sister is
like being a best friend, and the third will be about how being a sister is like being
II. BODY PARAGRAPH 1
A. TOPIC SENTENCE
I. Tell the reader which of your three points from your thesis this paragraph will be about.
1. For example, my first main point would be: “As a big sister, I find that I often
have to act as a mentor for my younger sister.” Notice how the main POINT
repeats the word that is being defined in the thesis and repeats language from the
i. Provide a personal example that illustrates your main point.
1. I would provide an example of how I’ve mentored my younger sister. I might talk
about the time I helped her pick her major in college.
i. Explain your example or evidence in detail.
1. This will take up the most space in your paragraph.
i. Link everything back to the main point by repeated the topic sentence in different words.
It might be helpful to think of your body paragraphs like little sandwiches. They’re self-
contained but are part of a larger meal.
1. I would reiterate my main point by saying the following: “Being the older sister, I
sometimes find myself having to take on the role of a mentor.”
III. BODY PARAGRAPH 2
SAME FORMAT AS BODY PARAGRAPH 1
IV. BODY PARAGRAPH 3
SAME FORMAT AS BODY PARAGRAPH 1 AND 2
i. Restate your thesis statement in different words
1. This helps remind the reader of the main point of the ENTIRE essay. If you find
that your thesis doesn’t sync with your body paragraphs, you’ll need to make
i. Wrap up the essay by doing one or more of the following:
1. If you didn’t use a quote in your introduction, you can use one here. Make sure it
relates to what you’ve discussed in the essay.
2. Why is your topic important? Why should anyone care?
3. What do you hope the reader takes away from this essay? What lesson can they
learn from it?
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