Arguments of definition



Essay #1 Argument of Definition

Definitions matter. Arguments of definition aren’t abstract exercises. Dictionaries are biased to their authors and to the times, so it’s possible to disagree with dictionary definitions or to regard them merely as starting points for arguments. An author may place a definition on their topic and make their claim from that starting point.

Read the article “Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer” (Annie Murphy Paul, Arguments arise from operational definitions whenever people disagree about what the conditions define or whether these conditions have been fulfilled. Operational definitions identify an object or idea by what it does or by what conditions create it. Take note of her opening quote.

Your paper will meet the following criteria:

  • At least two typed pages that is double-spaced for MLA format.
  • MLA formatting (in-text citations).
  • Introductory paragraph with hook. (Quote or interesting fact, cited if needed.)
  • Thesis statement with sub-points. (Includes the claim you are making.)
  • Appropriate transitions within and between paragraphs. (Change topic = change paragraph.)
  • Counterargument and refutation or concession (give the opposing argument from yours at least a bit of consent!)
  • Concluding paragraph that emphasizes the importance of knowing the facts presented. (Avoid simply repeating the thesis and key points.) Make it thought-provoking.
  • Avoidance of first and second person.
  • Effective sentencing and vocabulary usage.
  • Effective mechanics. (Spelling, grammar, punctuation).


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