Definition Argument

The definition argument focuses on clarifying a definition for a controversial term or concept. In other words, a definition argument is one that asserts we cannot make clear assertions or possess a clear understanding of an issue until we understand exactly what the terms mean.

Examples of this type of argument might look something like this:

An argumentative essay calling for a re-examination of the birth control requirements in the Affordable Health Care Act with a focus on explaining what birth control is, what the options are, and how they work.

An argumentative essay calling for an end to the two-party system of government in the United States with a focus on defining what a two-party system really is and what the laws are related to it.

An argumentative essay arguing for the benefits of organic foods with a focus on defining what organic really means.


Select the image below to view and learn more about the structure of a definition argument.

A screenshot of the first page of the interaction

TIPS: When writing a definition argument, it’s important to keep your essay focused. Choose an issue where there is a clear misunderstanding of a term or terms. Focus on those terms in relation to your claim.

If you’re having trouble thinking of topics for a definition argument, read a little bit about what is going on in the world. Look for issues that come up related to misunderstandings over what certain terms mean.

The sample essay on the following page will provide more details about developing this type of argument.

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