Essay 4: Definition Essay


Due date:

Monday/Wednesday Class: 11/11/09

Tuesday/Thursday Class: 11/12/09

6:00 p.m. Wednesday Class: 11/11/09



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Must be turned in to the D2L drop box ten minutes or more prior to class on the due date. No paper copy is necessary.



General Guidelines:

  1. Page count: three full pages minimum to four full pages maximum, plus an additional page, which is the works cited page. If your essay falls short of the minimum required page count, the grade will certainly suffer.
  2. Work closely with sections one and three of lecture 2, available on D2L.
  3. Make certain that the essay has a thesis, which is defined as a debatable claim. We will spend time on this during class.
  4. Use the formatting guidelines established during class lectures.
  5. Use the formatting guidelines established during class lectures. Part of these guidelines includes a Times New Roman 12 point font.
  6. Remember to title your essay, but do not use the name of this assignment. In other words, no part of your essay’s title should read “Essay 4,” or “Definition Essay.
  7. Take copious notes during class, and work closely with chapter 15 of Real Essays with Readings.
  8. Use one outside source, which you will locate through Google Scholar @ You must turn in a paper copy of this source with your essay.




This definition essay assigns an additional meaning to a given word, and argues that the word now needs to be understood in this additional way. Your objective is not to do away with the old meaning, but rather to argue that the word also needs to be used and understood in terms of your additional meaning.




  1. You cannot use any topic previously covered in this course, or the paper will earn a grade of zero.
  2. Your Definition Essay focuses on the word “terrorism,” and you will assign to it an additional meaning.
  3. Your essay will redefine a particular issue/problem as terrorism, and to solve this problem the Department of Homeland Security will have authority over its resolution. Here is an example that you are not allowed to use in your essay (because I want you to devise your own):

·         The condition of the public school system in the U.S. appears to be in ever-worsening condition, and that it is allowed to continue on this downward slide is a form of terrorism that must come to an end. Henceforth, the Department of Homeland Security will allocate funds to . . .

  1. In effect, you are not dealing with traditional notions of terrorism, such as al Queda, and terrorist attacks that may cause loss of life and/or destruction of property. Rather, you are going to focus on a societal problem that you feel passionate about, and argue for it to be redefined as a form of terrorism that must be addressed.
  2. The bulk of your essay will argue for the specific way to resolve the problem.
  3. You are required to locate one outside source through Google Scholar @, from which you must use at least two direct quotations and one paraphrase. Each quotation should be relatively short, meaning a sentence or two.
  4. You will also be graded on the successful negotiation of Lecture 3, “How to Fix the Extra Spacing Between Paragraphs in MS Word 2007.”
  5. You cannot use a topic you have previously written about in a major project, or the paper will receive a grade of zero.



Structure and Organization:


Do the following in your introductory paragraph:


  1. Frame some background about what the Department of Homeland Security has traditionally dealt with.
  2. Explain why the problem you have chosen to focus on should be regarded as terrorism.
  3. Introduce the fact that The Department of Homeland Security’s role will now expand to have authority over, and solve the problems associated with this additional type of terrorism.

4.    Locate the thesis statement as the final sentence of the introductory paragraph, and remember that a thesis is defined as a debatable claim.


Do the following in your body paragraphs:


·         Give readers clear and detailed examples or explanations of the causes and effects, while making clear that the essay advances an argument that supports the claim made in the thesis statement. Use short quotations throughout.

·         Use the one, two, three rule, as follows:


1.    Make a debatable claim.

2.    Support the claim with a quote.

3.    Explain the connection between your claim and the quote.



Do the following in your concluding paragraph:



Possible Topics that Could be Added to a Definition of Terrorism  (or choose your own):


1.    The public school system

2.    Healthcare

3.    Taxes

4.    Homelessness

5.    Political Lobbying

6.    Minimum wage

7.    No-bid military contracts: Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater

8.    Torture/Enhanced-Interrogation Tactics

9.    Patriot Act

Two Important points:

  1. During class there will be much direct instruction from me, so you must attend class to be successful. I will also assist you during peer revisions and I am available for questions via E-mail, before and after class, and during office hours.
  2. Think about what we have focused on during the classes that led up to this essay: discussions, lectures, grammar and punctuation, MLA Style Guidelines, and formatting requirements. Proofread your paper for errors before turning it in for grading.

Two more important points:


1.    Remember that MLA Style Guidelines is an important element of this course, and if you negotiate them at an exceedingly low skill level this paper will receive an unsatisfactory grade at best.


2.    Remember that you and I have the same goals: you should gain worthwhile skills from this course; you should finish the course with a nice grade. If you have questions or concerns, please talk to me, for I want to help you. I want to see you do well, so my best advice to you is to come to class, do all the coursework, give everything your best effort, turn in work on time, and be prepared for class.


Due Date:

Monday/Wednesday Class: 11/11/09

Tuesday/Thursday Class: 11/12/09

6:00 p.m. Wednesday Class: 11/11/09