Tips for Good Definition Paragraphs

  1. Start your paragraph with a dictionary or other authority's definition of the word or phrase you are writing about.
  2. Add another point, your own, to this definition.
  3. Tell your reader one thing that mother's day is not.
  4. Choose another point and explain it here.
  5. Choose one of the other points you can think of, and explain it here.
  6. Choose another point and explain it here.
  7. If you have another point, explain it here.
  8. Finish with a conclusion which reflects all that you mentioned in your paragraph.

Here is an example. See if you can find all of the steps above in this example

        Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary defines mother's day as "A day for honoring mothers and  motherhood, observed annually on the second Sunday in May." Actually, mother's day is a celebration, but it is much more too. For the family, it is not a normal day, busy with chores and work around the house, and empty of excitement. It is a day when children get up earlier than usual, and excitedly try to keep their plans for celebration secret from their mothers. It is a day when mothers pretend not to hear the kids excitement and preparations, and show absolute surprise when they, smiling and parading down the hall, carefully and awkwardly bring orange juice and overdone toast for her breakfast in bed, as a sign of love. Mother's Day is a day for remembering - a happy day for people who warmly think of their mothers, a sad day for those who no longer have them, and a day for most of the world to celebrate a very special member of the family - the mother. It is a day when kids and adults buy all kinds of gifts for their special women - from jewelry to food, to cards and flowers, and restaurants are full of families trying to give their mothers a day off from the kitchen.

bulletNow you are ready to edit your paper.
Check to see if: Yes No
1.   all of your sentences relate to the word you are trying to define
2.   the order of the sentences is the best possible
3.   you need to add examples
4.   your transitions are good
5.   your main idea is clear
6.   your conclusion relates to what you have just defined
7.   you have used quotations correctly when using other people's ideas
8.   you have any spelling or grammatical mistakes


bulletEdit your paper again. Put your definition away for a day or two, then edit it once more. You will be glad you did.