• A definitional essay is used to describe the writer's personal views on a concept that may have different meanings to different people. This essay will explain in detail how the writer defines those concepts in this manner.

    Picking a Subject for the Definitional Essay

    Pick a subject that is somewhat abstract, but not so broad as to be weighed down in definitions and ideas. For example, patriotism, love or marriage. Instead of using the very general notion of any of these examples, narrow the idea down further to concepts such as "good marriage" or "bad parenting." This will bring the concept to something more manageable and give the author a better opportunity to discuss the specific examples to explain the reasons behind those definitions.

    Construction of the Definitional Essay

    As with any essay, start with the introduction. For the first sentence, try an attention grabber. If the paper starts out dull, the reader is less likely to be interested in continuing forward. After the introductory sentence, explain each example that will follow in the essay and finish with the thesis. The thesis is the statement of the writer's definition of the concept. Each following paragraph will go into detail about the examples stated in the introductory paragraph. The final paragraph is the conclusion of the essay. Generally, a restatement of the thesis will begin the concluding paragraph. State whether the point has been made as to the definition of the concept. Review and prove each point in the conclusion and finish the paragraph with another attention grabber. The best final sentences find some way to tie the introductory sentence to the conclusion. It brings the essay to a full circle of understanding for the reader.

    Pointers for Essay Writing

    The definitional essay is no different in the rules of writing for any essay. Each paragraph should contain transitional statements to ease the reader into the next paragraph. Transitional statements are generally a summation of the current paragraph's point and the tie-in to the next paragraph's point. Use examples. Examples provide a visualization for the reader to better understand the concepts being put forth by the writer. The very nature of a definitional essay is to support the writer's definition by using examples. Be imaginative. The definitional essay is the writer's way to prove a point of thought or personal definition of a concept. Engage the reader with humor, if appropriate, or use interesting adjectives to liven up the writing. Try to avoid abusing the thesaurus, however, as that will more than likely turn the reader off.


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