English: how to define a term

The tutor offers clarification about what a definition does.

Often, in an English essay, the writer might need to define a term. From a working point of view, what does a definition do?

According to Harbrace1, a definition gives similar concepts (or nouns) to the one being defined, afterwards explaining how the term of interest is different from the other similar ones.

An example:

A desktop computer is similar to other devices of web communication, such as smartphones and laptops. A typical difference between the desktop computer and the other devices is that a desktop computer has a separate keyboard.


1Hodges, Horner, et al. Harbrace Handbook for Canadians, 6th ed. Scarborough: Nelson Education, Ltd, 2003.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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