The English Teacher

Teaching Definition in Writing

This exercise helps students write effective definitions, an important part of non-fiction writing, particularly argumentation.

Definition Exercise
[Definit1.122] 4/17/98
1. Make a list of words equal to number of students in class.
2. Number them 1-21(?)
3. Then have students choose a number and therefore a word to define. Then write down the student's name by the word. [They may trade words if you wish.]
4. For next class the student writes a definition, at least 1/3 page, typed, of the word assigned. **They should use the definition techniques such as negation and stipulation mentioned in the definition chapter. [Annette Rottenberg Elements of Argument 5th ed.]
5. They read the definition out loud to the class.
6. **The class is asked if they can add anything. [Perhaps they should be told to **add one thing to the definition.[?]
7. Then they turn in their definitions. **Perhaps keep several for samples.

1. Immortal 2. Mortal 3. Fair
4. Clumsy 5. Wimp 6. Shoe
7. Computer 8. Tire 9. Hope
10. Friendliness 11. Dirt 12. Obsequious
13. Sale 14. Tension 15. Worth
16. Iceberg 17. Clan 18. Formidable
19. Delicious 20. Progress 21. Equine
22. Salvation 23. Carry 24. Tent
25. Cancellation 26. Heel 27. Dune

Return to: Teaching Composition Page