Knowing how to use the rhetorical style of definition will help make your writing stronger in many disciplines. You may be asked to write short papers defining key concepts from class, or you may be asked to write longer essays that sometimes use definition as one of the many strategies.
Below, you’ll see a sample essay from a literature course where students were asked to write a definition of realism and then make a connection to the readings. The essay follows MLA formatting guidelines. Although this assignment was not described as a definition essay, key elements of the definition style have been noted for you.
Click the image below to open a PDF of the sample paper.