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Unformatted text preview: 236 You Know This You already use defi nition. Your child hears the word hur- ricane and asks what it means. You then defi ne it for him. A friend new to this country sees a No Smoking sign and asks what it means. You defi ne it for him or her. 15 Defi nition Writing That Tells What Something Means Understand What Defi nition Is Defi nition is writing that explains what a term or concept means. In the following paragraph, each number corresponds to one of the four basics of good defi nition. 1 Internet addiction is 2 chronic, compulsive use of the Internet that interferes with the addicts lives or their relationships with others. 3 For example, addicts may spend so much time online that they are unable to perform as expected at home, work, or school. 4 These addicts may spend hours surfi ng the Web, playing games, or e-mailing friends and family. 3 In other cases, the Internet addiction can cause fi nancial problems, or worse. 4 For example, online shoppers who go to extremes can fi nd themselves FOUR BASICS OF GOOD DEFINITION 1. It tells readers what term is being defi ned. 2. It presents a clear defi nition. 3. It uses examples to show what the writer means. 4. It gives details about the examples that readers will understand. IDEA JOURNAL Write about what success means. WRITING ESSAYS Chapter 15 Defi nition 237 in debt and, as a result, damage their credit, not to mention personal relationships. 3 Still other Internet addictions involve potentially dangerous or illegal activities. 4 These activities can include meeting people online, gambling, viewing pornography, and engaging in cybersex. However, for Internet addicts, the problem usually isnt how they use the Internet; the problem is that they cannot stop using it, even if they want to. Many situations require you to explain the meaning of a term, particu- larly how you are using it. COLLEGE On a U.S. history exam, you defi ne the term carpetbagger . WORK You describe a coworker as dangerous to a human resources staffer, and the staffer asks what you mean exactly. EVERYDAY You explain the term fair to your child in the context of LIFE games or sports. Main Point in Defi nition In defi nition essays, your main point typically defi nes your topic. The main point is directly related to your purpose, which is to get your read- ers to understand the way that you are using a term or concept in the context of your essay. Although writers do not always defi ne a term or concept in a thesis statement, it helps readers if they do. A thesis statement in defi nition can follow a variety of different pat- terns, two of which include the term and its basic defi nition. 1. Term + Means/is + Basic defi nition = Thesis statement Today, marriage means different things to different people....
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