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Advanced Composition 

Extended Definition for Developing a Paragraph

January 27, 2000

Formal Definition (an equation): 

Term (word) = class + detail which shows its difference 

A triangle (term) is a plane figure (class) with three sides. (detail which shows its difference) 

These kinds of definitions apply to concrete words such as apple, pencil, or window. An apple is a fruit which grows on a tree and which has a thin, edible skin.

Extended Definition:

Use extended definition for words which are more abstract. Words such as knowledge, love, peace, happiness and democracy are abstract. 

A paragraph can be used to define a more abstract word. 

     Love can have a number of different meanings. It often means the romantic feeling that two people have for each other. We call this "being in love." Another meaning for love is as an emotion we feel for items of food that we like to eat very much. People say, "I love ice cream!" This kind of love is not the same as the first kind, obviously. (and so on until the paragraph is finished)


Write a paragraph that defines the word "happiness." Give at least three different definitions of this word (three ways we can explain what it means for us). Follow the rules of formal definition in your examples. See a teacher writing sample.


Please also visit your Advanced Composition Class Page where you can access current and past lessons.

More Lessons (index of past lesson worksheets)