The Formal Definition
A formal (some call it logical or Aristotelian) definition is based upon a concise, logical pattern that includes as much information as it can within a minimum amount of space - usually a well-constructed sentence. The act of formulating a formal definition may lead to a thesis statement for an extended definition.
Definiendum = genus + differentia.
A formal definition consists of three parts.
A. The term (definiendum) which is the word or phrase to be defined
B. The class (genus) of the object or concept to which the term belongs.
C. The differentiating characteristics (differentia) that distinguish it from all others of its class
Water (term) is a liquid (class) made up of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of 2 to 1 (differentiating characteristics).
Even if we don’t state logical definition in precisely this way, we should still have it clearly in mind. This is so the concept doesn’t shift to something else without us noticing it (this can happen easily), and so our readers will be able to reconstruct the logical definition from what we do say. It’s safest and most considerate of our readers to state the logical definition outright, usually near the beginning of an extended essay.
The Extended Definition
There are reasons why extended definitions are made by writers.
1. One is that when the writer thinks or fells that the real definition of a particular term is distorted in the minds of the public, here extended definition is needed as replacement for the real definition.
2. Another is that it is used in removing confusions as well as to make the context more precise.
3. Extended definition is also use to set up an ideal meaning that is in contrast with the other meaning that merely reflects an existing fact.
Any definition helps clear misunderstanding. More often than not, an extended definition informs -- by clarifying something that is complex, by bringing the reader to a fresh appreciation of something familiar or taken for granted, by expressing feelings and relating experience, or by serving a persuasive purpose to point out a conclusion about a controversial issue.
Writing an extended definition usually requires the use of many sources as tools that will help us explain the term to our readers. This means considering all of the various sources of information that can help define the term adequately (for example, description, process narration, causal discussion, and classification). The key to writing a good extended definition is to choose the sources of definition to help readers understand the term being defined.
Notice the number of difference sources used in this example:
Often Employed Sources:
Analysis: The subject may be separated into different parts and those parts could be described separately. For example, if the topic is love then the many types of love could be explained individually. The writer may start with platonic love, then romantic love, unrequited love, and first love.
Comparison: By comparing the subject to something else, it might make it more lucid to the reader. If the topic is Communism, then comparing it to capitalism or socialism, may make the concept of communism much clearer.
Details: providing the reader with the physical and internal attributes, conceptual background and traditional thoughts of the subject is another way of making it more apparent to the reader.
Negation: Pointing out what the subject is not, may make what it is clearer to the reader. An essay on Hinduism I read started by stating that Hinduism was NOT Christianity, and then began pointing out the dissimilarities between the two religions. This was a very effective beginning.
Examples and Anecdotes: when explaining a very abstract concept, the best way to make your meaning clear is by giving examples. When defining “truth” for instance, a well placed story highlighting the truthfulness of a person may make a greater impact than a theoretical rambling on what truth could or could not mean.
Origins and Causes: discussing the background of a topic may also help. If you are writing about “fire” such as, then theorizing on how fire may have been discovered will add interest to your essay.
Results, effects, and causes: topics such as “Racism” or “Poverty” cannot be truly discussed without describing the effects that they render on the human psyche. Similarly topics such as “Pollution” and “Global warming” lack poignancy if the results and causes are not mentioned.
The Scioto County Drug Abuse Prevention Education Levy
The November request for a prevention levy has been defeated. Perhaps better definition could insure more votes at the polls the next time the levy is on the ballot. To make the distinctions necessary to gain more support, those in favor of the levy will work to clarify any issues voters have they may have caused them to reject the much-needed preventative measure.
These facts were widely available to voters before November:
The Scioto County Coalition for Drug Prevention has been formed to promote awareness of the importance of drug prevention education. The coalition consists of citizens in Scioto County who are interested in the future of Scioto County and would like to see more funding available in the county for prevention education to Save Our Kids
The ADAMHS (Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services) board is proposing a $1 million levy for 5 years. The levy will generate $950,000 per year for prevention education. The money will go to all Scioto County schools.
The levy will cost 10 cents per $100.00 of property value/$1.00 per $1000.00. $4.17 per month for the owner of a home valued at $50,000.00
Currently there is less that $3.00 per child available in Scioto County for prevention education in the schools. With a continuing risk of drug abuse among youth, prevention education needs to start at a young age. Drug abusing youth have powerful influence over other youth. Scioto County is the epicenter for prescription drug abuse. It is the #1 cause of accidental death among our young people.
Families who have an addicted loved one or who have lost a loved one would be saved from pain and suffering associated with addiction. Prevention education will "save our kids" from experimentation with drugs, overdose, and academic and behavior problems, tobacco use and teen pregnancy.
Prevention education that is integrated into a community can save taxpayers money by: reducing crime and incarceration; reducing long term health care of babies that are born affected; the need for less addiction treatment; and by reducing other costs associated with drug abuse including lost wages.
How will the levy dollars be spent? Engage the schools, community, and faith-based groups in prevention education activities.
Person 7: I never saw anything that gave a detailed plan of how the money would be spent and what type of program would be implemented to educate the youth of our county. Our children recently graduated from high school and said that their classes had the benefit of the D.A.R.E. program and other programs advocating drug and sexual abstinence, and they still had many classmates trying drugs, using drugs on a regular basis, having sex and making babies. They feel as if these programs in the schools did not have the impact that family and church values taught from a young age had. What are you proposing that will be different and better than what has gone before?
Person 8: Maybe the issue was that "drug abuse prevention" is somewhat vague. I spoke to a lot of people who said they simply didn't know what the money would actually go towards, or who would be in charge of it.
Person 9: Being a part of the team and protesting against the pain clinics, a local group of people did, in fact, want to volunteer, who had many ideals to go to the schools different from Dare. The counselors took over. Yes, many addicts, wanted to share their stories with students. They are educated in the field and also grew up in alcoholic homes. After asking the counselors to remember us, we waited 1 year and a half, but a team of community members did not call once before Ohio Stare got the curriculum ready. Months later the counselor center got involved.
Please, let's further engage ALL the public and extend our definition of the Scioto County Drug Abuse Education Levy. With the expertise of the Scioto Rx Drug Task Force Action Team, the Counseling Center, and others, we can provide answers to any questions people ask.
I am dedicated to providing the county with a detailed definition of program and of purpose that will facilitate a positive response and lay the groundwork for a new vote soon.
In the meantime,
let's wear those funky green silicone bracelets
to remind everyone that our work towards prevention is ongoing.
I'd love to see everyone in the county
keep a green band around their wrist until Scioto County
commits to drug abuse education.
Please, Save Our Kids.