Eng 111/9: College Composition I
Sections 01 and 03
Essay #2: Definition Paper
Rough Draft Due: Friday, February 13
Final Draft Due: Friday, February 20
Essay Purpose and Content
Write an extended definition explaining your understanding of what one of the following words or phrases mean:
• Community college
• Hero or Heroic
An extended definition essay develops an argument about the term. It goes beyond the formal meaning of the word and tries to explain the connotations of the word as well.
An extended definition considers several different components:
1. Dictionary meanings of a word;
2. The history of the word’s usage;
3. Current uses of the word (such as slang uses, media uses, etc.); and
4. The writer’s personal experience with or opinion of the word.
The Oxford English Dictionary provides the same information as a standard dictionary, but it goes one step further and actually shows the history of the word and what meanings the word has had over time. In addition, there are often literary passages to demonstrate usage of a word.
An extended definition might use examples of usage, personal experiences, comparisons, and dictionary research to develop its discussion.
Your task will be to make the definition fresh by using your own understanding and experience to illuminate the word’s meaning. You’re writing a definition that not only explains how the word is generally used but also explains your understanding of the word.
Expected Length and Format
The definition essay should be about 900-1000 words, or approximately three to four pages in length (the general formula is that one double-spaced page = 300 words). It should not be substantially shorter or longer than this range – maybe a page in either direction. Part of the challenge of the assignment is to create a focused response.
Format the paper according to MLA manuscript format, described on page 463 and following in Rules for Writers.