ENC 1101 Definition-Concept Essay

The purpose of this essay is to give you the opportunity to develop a viewpoint on a word and its representation within a particular context or situation. First, you will closely observe different representations of the word and consider several viewpoints and perspectives. After considering those various perspectives, you will develop and articulate your own unique interpretation and definition of a word, and then support your definition with explanation, description, and research.


Characteristics of the Definition Essay

A successful essay

  • provides an engaging introduction of the example to prepare the context for the word itself with respect to your audience
  • narrows the definition of the word by providing a specific thesis at the end of your introduction
  • makes use of description and examples through close observation in supporting paragraphs to support the thesis
  • includes specific details and evidence from secondary sources
  • creates an objective stance by the use of third-person voice
  • integrates quotations from secondary sources
  • conforms to MLA guidelines for source documentation and format.


Topic: Please define one of the below terms:

  • Beauty
  • Courage
  • Femininity
  • Friendship
  • Greed
  • Happiness
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • Masculinity
  • Patriotic
  • Smart
  • Successful


As you define your selected term, consider the following questions:

  1. What is an appropriate definition of the term?
  2. What are characteristics society often associates with the term?
  3. Is there a characteristic you think should not be associated with the term?
  4. How does the media (e.g., television, movies, news, social media, etc.) often portray the “term”?
  5. Are there positive connotations of the term?
  6. Are there any negative connotations of the term?
  7. Is the term defined differently in other cultures?
  8. Should society rethink the use of the term?
  9. Is the term overused?
  10. Are there instances in which another term should be used to articulate a point?


As you write your essay, do not try to answer all of the questions in your essay.  I suggest that you consider these questions as you define your term (concept).


Length of Paper: at least 3 pages


Important Reminders

  • Do not write a personal narrative about yourself or someone you know. The focus of this essay should be on the term, concepts, and characteristics.
  • Reference and cite at least three secondary sources in your essay. One of your sources should come from the TCC database. You may reference and cite a dictionary, but you should count a dictionary as a fourth source. Also, do not cite Wikipedia as a source.
  • Do not write in second person (e.g., you, your, yourself, or imperative sentence).





  • Please do not email your final papers!
  • Please remember to attach all rough drafts with your submissions.
  • Please remember to save an electronic version of the paper to your TCC drive.


Other reminders: Font Times Roman / Size 12; Double Spaced; Include Page Numbers (top right corner of page); and NO COVER PAGE.  Your first page should look like this:


(Insert Page Number Using the Word Program) Doe 1


(Top left, Single Space; some teachers might ask you to place it on top right and double space)

Jane Doe (Your name)

ENC 1101.Reference # (the class and the reference)

  1. Thompkins (my name)

November 28, 2018 (Date the paper is due)


If You Want to Feel Funky, Feel Free.  But Please Don’t Spread that Funk on Me: Social Commentary in Today’s Comedy Routines (Sample Title)


Introduction (Length for this essay: 1-2 paragraphs)

  1. Provides background information about the topic
  2. Defines any key terms
  3. Establishes a context for the paper
  4. Includes a thesis statement


Body of essay (Length for this class: 3-4 paragraphs)

  1. Develops the thesis by discussing main points
  2. Introduces the first main point with a topic sentence
  3. Provides supporting details and examples
  4. Engages / Explores the topic

Possible Organizational Pattern:

  • Identify characteristic (Topic sentence)
  • Define characteristic
  • Discuss characteristic in terms of its importance to being a hero
  • Cite examples of people who or professions that exhibit these heroic characteristic
  • Close reiterating the importance of the characteristic to being a hero
  • Transition to the next paragraph


Conclusion (Length for this class: 1-2 paragraphs

  1. Summarizes the discussion
  2. Asks the reader to consider other ways of approaching the topic for future exploration
  3. Brings closure to the topic



Works Cited


If you have any other questions, please see me during my office hours, or email me.


Thank You!  And Happy Drafting!!!

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