When you write a definition essay, you use a variety of techniques to extend the definition of the term, concept, or idea that you want to explain. These include:
- formal definition from a source such as a dictionary
- synonyms, or words that are similar
- descriptions with details
- etymology that explains the origins of the word
- illustrations and examples
- process analysis that explains how something works
- comparisons and contrasts that show similarities and differences
- negation, which shows what something is not
You can also use more complex vocabulary and grammar, such as adjective clauses and noun clauses, to make your writing more concise, precise, and academic.
Composition strategies, such as strong introductions with clear thesis statements, help your readers understand our ideas.
Finally, it’s important to remember that writing is not a “one and done” activity. Rather, writing is a process that requires you to research, write, review, and revise — sometimes many times — before you have a final product that is interesting and useful to your readers.