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The Definition Essay

The Definition Essay
Order Description
assignment is marked out of 100 marks and is worth 12.5% of your course grade.
Final essay (with draft submitted): 90 marks
Response to peer essay: 10 marks
This assignment includes writing an essay and both receiving and providing peer review before you submit your final essay to your Open Learning Faculty Member. Be sure to review the full set of
instructions (all four steps) before you begin.
If you have not already done so, please familiarize yourself with the “Discussions” tool, which is located in the Course Menu on the left-side of the screen. For more information, refer to “Help.”
Step 1
Using the techniques that you have learned so far in the course including, more specifically, Unit 2, create a polished essay of 600 to 650 words on one of the choices presented in the following
two topics.
Define one of these terms in an extended definition: loyalty, vanity, motivation, ethics. Use your extended definition to say something fresh and relevant about this abstract and commonly used
term. For example, in the sample essay “The Insufficiency of Honesty” (page 241), Stephen L. Carter uses his definitions of honesty and integrity to say something new about the need for integrity
in personal and business interactions. For your chosen topic, you should add to or work against the ready, accepted definition. You might, for example, decide that the usual definition of vanity is
too narrow, and that you can extend the definition to include actions or attitudes that you feel society should be more concerned about than it is.
Use extended definition to redefine or more narrowly define one of the following terms: education, family, middle age, neighbour. Use your extended definition to say something fresh and relevant
about this abstract and commonly used term. We all think we know what we mean by these terms, but you should use your extended definition to comment on or add to social perceptions. For example,
you might say that education is commonly perceived as something formal that happens in an institution, but that there are other forms of education.
As you draft and revise your essay, check that your thesis is clear and supported by your main points. Check that you have used the rhetorical methods explored in this unit, as appropriate, and
especially that you have used specific, relevant examples. Check your paragraphs for unity, organization, development, and coherence. Review your introduction and conclusion for interest and
appropriateness of tone. Then edit, checking your work for the sentence errors reviewed in Activity 8.
Be sure to include your preliminary work and drafts with your final version when you submit the assignment to your Open Learning Faculty Member.
Here is a checklist for revising, editing, and proofreading. Note that chapters 5 and 6 as well as the Handbook section of your textbook provide further suggestions for checking the final version
of your essay.
Is my essay topic clear to my reader in the first few sentences of the paragraph?
Does my introduction lead the reader to expect specific stages in the developmental section of the paper?
Does this paragraph match the tone of the rest of the essay?
Is there a strong, full, suitably narrowed and clearly worded thesis statement?
Developmental Paragraphs:
Does each paragraph include a clear topic sentence?
Have I fully analyzed the topic under study?
Have I used a variety of rhetorical methods, as appropriate?
Is each paragraph nicely unified and linked to the essay as a whole?
Does this paragraph signal that the essay is complete?
Does this paragraph suggest the larger significance of my ideas?
Does this paragraph unify the essay into an artistic whole?
Does this paragraph match the tone of the rest of the essay?
After composing and revising several drafts of your essay, you will be just about ready to submit it. There is, however, one more very important step. Do ensure that you have proofread your essay
carefully. This means going beyond spelling and grammar checkers, which are helpful but cannot actually think. I will pass on to you some tips from my own experience and that of my students to
ensure careful proofreading:
Reading your essay aloud will often allow you to catch details that you might miss in silent reading.
If you are using a computer, print your essay before you give it a final proofreading. Again, you can sometimes catch things on paper that you might miss on the screen.
Some students say that reading their essays backwards—that is, reading the last sentence first and going backward from there—draws any errors to their attention.
If possible, have a friend read your essay to you. This technique, like some of the others mentioned above, helps you separate yourself from your work and view it with a more critical eye.

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