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Extended Definition of Love

Examples and Illustrations

Essay: Write an extended definition of Love in two to three typed, double spaced pages. 

To develop and expand upon your definition, incorporate multiple elements from the twelve below to help pull your essay together. Use specific examples from movies, books, plays, non-fiction articles as support. Some support must come from Midnight summers dream. This means that you will have to do some research (You have 20+ articles to use already!!!!). 

Formal Definition

Created definition

Examples or Illustrations

Important Facts or Figures

Synonyms and Antonyms

Negative Definitions


Anecdotes or Stories

Figures of Speech



Explanation of Purpose/Use

Note: sometimes choosing a certain form of a word makes defining easier. 

Regarding personality traits, it is usually easiest to use the noun form for the definition and slide back and forth between the noun and adjective as needed; for example, love (noun) is a quality, but a loving (adjective) person is one who (explain)

Explanations and clarification of elements that may be used in an extended definition Remember to use multiple elements.

Explanations and clarification of elements that may be used in an extended definition:

 1. Dictionary or Formal Definition:  What we would find in the dictionary, possibly reworded somewhat -- a straightforward, literal definition of the word. Cite the source. According to, ...

2. Personal Definitions:  What does this word, concept, trait mean to me, the writer?  This may be an “in other words” type of definition:  “The formal definition of poetry may be xyz, but poetry to me is abc.”  This is useful if the formal definition is complex or difficult to understand; take the role of explaining the definition in your own or simpler terms to someone who might say, “huh?” after your formal definition. However, do not use 1st person to do this!

3. Examples or Illustrations:  Use common situations, hypothetical situations, etc., to show what a word means through seeing it in action.  This probably works best with abstract terms, such as the personality traits.  If I don’t understand your definition of comedy, for example, giving me an example of a comedic person or a situation where comedic behavior might be found may help.

4. Important Facts or Figures:  This one is probably more useful for concept meanings.  What, for example, is the difference between humor and comedy, hunger and famine? When does a dry spell become a drought, what is a population explosion?  Statistics and numbers can help illustrate the concept.

Important Facts or Figures

5. Synonyms and Antonyms:  A difficult or unusual term can be explained with the help of a common or simple term.  If I point out that humor is something that a person finds to be funny, I am on my way to a clear explanation.  I then just have to point out what humor means precisely to differentiate the term from all other terms that suggest being funny (this is where the synonym dictionary comes in.)  Antonyms work just the opposite:  funny behavior is not . . . 

6. Negative Definitions:  This overlaps with the antonym explanation.  A negative definition explains what something is by explaining what it is not.  For example, illustrate honesty and its benefits by explaining dishonesty and the harm it can do.

7. Quotations:  Do you know any quotations about love?  If not, check quotation books, and copy any quotations that might work in your essay.  Don’t use them just to use them, but if the appropriate quip or quote appears, great, incorporate it into your essay. Cite the source.

8. Anecdotes or Stories:   Do you have a personal story that can help personalize your essay and bring the word to life?  For example, in the days of the cinder track down at Mary Roundtree, I once watched Mr. Bulin, a former teacher and track coach, locate a single point on the ground and use geometry to lay out the entire track, including relay passing lanes and staggered start markers.  I could develop this anecdote into an example of practical application of geometry.

9. Figures of Speech:  Here is a more creative angle:  can you suggest or imply the meaning of your word through a simile or metaphor -- compare it with something dissimilar?  For example, in one of her poems, Emily Dickinson develops a comparison between hope and a bird.  “A tactful person is like a  .
10. Comparisons:   Comparison overlaps several other areas.  It depends what purpose you want the comparison to fulfill.  For example, you might compare humor and comedy in order to clarify meaning.

11. Etymology:   The history of a word can sometimes provide insight into its meaning and use.  For example, the word dandelion comes from an Old French phrase “dent de leon,” meaning the teeth of a lion.  The suggestion here is that the dandelion leaf with its jagged edges is similar to a lion’s teeth. 

12. Explanation of Purpose or Use:   This also may overlap other areas.  Simply telling what something is may not be enough.  It can better be explained by telling how it is used and what it is used for.  A person with little agricultural background may find little knowledge in the formal definition of a combine, but he may benefit from an explanation of how it works and what its purpose is along with the definition.











Ideas / Content 

(five + elements) (x4)

 •Insightfully addresses all aspects of the prompt 

• Introduces artful, precise, and knowledgeable claim in a sophisticated thesis statement 

•Competently addresses all aspects of the prompt 

• Introduces precise, knowledgeable claim in a clear thesis statement 

• Superficially addresses all aspects of the prompt 

• Introduces reasonable claim in a thesis statement 

•Partially addresses aspects of the prompt 

• Introduces underdeveloped or flawed claim in a weak thesis statement 

 •Minimally addresses some aspects of the prompt 

• Does not introduce a relevant claim and/or lacks a thesis statement

Organization                (x1)

•Skillfully orients reader to topic in introduction 

• Creates cohesion through skillful use of linking words, phrases, and clauses within and between paragraphs 

• Includes strategic and logical progression of ideas from beginning to end with relevant body paragraphs

• Provides a meaningful and reflective conclusion which follows from and supports claim(s) 

• Orients reader to topic in introduction 

• Creates cohesion through linking words, phrases, and clauses within and between paragraphs 

• Includes logical progression of ideas from beginning to end with relevant body paragraphs 

• Provides a conclusion that follows from and supports claim(s)

• Superficially orients reader to topic in introduction 

• Creates some cohesion through basic linking words, phrases, and/or clauses within or between paragraphs 

• Includes adequate progression of ideas from beginning to end with body paragraphs 

• Provides a conclusion which repetitively or partially supports claim(s)

•Inadequately orients reader to topic in introduction 

• Uses limited and/or inappropriate linking words, phrases, or clauses 

• Includes illogical progression of ideas from beginning to end with minimal body paragraphs 

• Provides an inadequate conclusion 

•Does not orient reader to topic in introduction or introduction is missing 

• Uses few or no linking words, phrases, or clauses 

• Includes no discernible organization of ideas in body paragraphs 

• Omits conclusion

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