4. Definition Paragraph

For the Definition Paragraph, you will need to define and explain a concept. The concept will be one that can be explained by many different people from different perspectives. Because the definition is based on your experience and your knowledge, you will have a different paragraph from someone else who is writing about the same term.

You will give a single CONTEXT for your definition — you will define the term “responsibility,” for example, in the context of a job, a personal relationship, your family, school, OR team sports, etc. You will use ONLY one context for your paragraph.

You will choose from among the following:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Cooperation
  3. Discrimination
  4. Apathy

The paragraph should do the following:

  1. Tell what is being defined
  2. Give a clear, basic definition
  3. Use examples to support the definition
  4. Give details about the examples

The point of this assignment is to practice defending your definition of the concept that you have chosen. You will give the term, define the term, give examples of the term, and then describe those examples. By the time you have finished, you should have written a paragraph that can convince the reader that your definition is correct and understandable and that you understand what you are talking about.

You will NOT use a dictionary definition in any way, shape, or form. If you do, Turnitin will catch this and it will be reported as plagiarism.

  • Topic sentence – it needs have two parts — it must identify the word that you have chosen, and it should give a brief definition of it. If you are writing about prejudice (which you won’t be), your topic sentence should look something like this:
    A prejudice is a conception that is often wrong, particularly when it is used to describe a group of people.
  • You should follow the defined term with an elaboration of it – you should explain what it means in more detail. Prejudice can often lead people to believe things about others that are not true, and they may affect the way people treat others based on wrong ideas about the way that a group of people think or behave.
  • You will then provide examples – you could explain prejudices that you have encountered in the past, or prejudices that you have been a victim of.
  • You MUST write in the third person, even if your example is using your own experiences.

This is a more difficult paragraph to write, since you are moving from describing concrete items (a room, a building) to an idea that you have some experience with. You won’t be able to look at your concept and describe it or explain it, so you will have to do a lot of thinking.

1. As always, your paragraph should be between 200 & 300 words. Those are ONLY the words in your paragraph, so make sure your word count is not including the header or the title.

2. As always, you should not have comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, tense shifts, or subject-verb disagreement.

3. As always, your paper must have an identifiable topic sentence which should indicate the contents of the paragraph.

4. Your paragraph has to be in MLA format with the appropriate header.

5. If you have 5 major errors, your paper will fail automatically.

6. Your paragraph must be written in the third person.

MLA formatting requires the following:

  1. Times New Roman 12-point font (NOT Calibri, which is the font MS Word uses – you have to change it)
  2. 1” margins on the top, bottom, and sides of your paper (you may have to change this as well)
  3. All spacings should be 0pts
  4. Title should be centered and have NO extra spaces between the last line of the header and the title, or between the title and the first line of the paragraph.
  5. The entire document should be double-spaced, including the header.

If you do not follow those instructions, you will receive an automatic zero.

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