Collin  College

 English ---Essay 1


To clarify what the subject is (to define a word, to explain a concept, to report evidence)

Topic: What is happiness?

Readings: from Current Issues and Enduring Questions 774-799.

Assignment: Take a stand on what constitutes happiness, giving evidence to support your position.

Prewriting: List what constitutes happiness for different people. (This topic might include your rasison d'etre or reason for being). See a couple of blogspots, websites, and treatises.

Length: Write approximately 750 words

Audience: college peers

Due Dates: Rough draft see syllabus; Final draft: must be in Blackboard folder by the folder's closure.

To define the concept:

See types of evidence in Classical Rhetoric. Definition is one of Aristotle's topoi.

Select from among the strategies for defining terms including:

denotative definition (distinguish a thing by its class and specific difference)

etymological definition (tracing the original meanings to illuminate the current use)

stipulation (meaning given to new concept or invented term for discussion and investigation)

negation (It is not X)



personal history

cultural context



Steps in Writing a Definition Essay

1.Define a vague and ambiguous term or one for which you have personal observations.

2. Decide on the thesis--the claim or point of view you want to take about the term you are defining.