The Extended Definition for Two Audiences


Select a technical term from your major (or from your workplace, or a hobby/activity that you are familiar with) and write two definitions of it, one for a lay (general) audience and one for a knowledgeable audience.  For the lay audience, assume that your readers have a basic, well-rounded education, but no special knowledge of your field, except what they have been able to pick up from such sources as the popular press.  For the knowledgeable audience, you should address fellow students in your field of study (or hobby, or club, or other group); they already have some familiarity with your subject, so they will be comfortable with terminology and more advanced discussions of your chosen term.  (If you wish to address a different knowledgeable audience that you feel is more appropriate, please contact me first.)


It should be clear that neither of these is to be a standard “dictionary definition” of a phrase or two.  (In fact, do not use the dictionary to create your definition.)  Rather, you will be explaining the term, how and in what context it is used, and, in some detail, what it refers to. Therefore, you must present your information clearly and logically for the audience it is intended for.  You may make use of whatever background information your readers can reasonably be assumed to have, but you must make sure that a correct understanding of the material does not rely on their knowing something that they may very well not know.  In other words, if your definition relies heavily on the readers’ understanding of some additional material, make sure you explain that material unless it is common knowledge for those readers.


Each definition should include at least two (2) of the techniques found in TC (in the section on “Writing Extended Definitions,” (pp. 541-544 in the 12th edition) on extended definitions:  graphics, examples, partition, principle of operation, comparison and contrast, analogy, negation, etymology, and history of the term. Be sure to include a clear sentence definition for each audience (see textbook for more on sentence definitions).


And at least some part of your definition should give your readers a reason for wanting to know what you are telling them (i.e. you must establish exigence for your paper).


For this assignment, you are not required to use secondary sources, but if you do  you MUST accurately cite ALL source material using APA or MLA documentation style .  Failure to do so will result in failing the assignment.  Please contact me if you have any questions about documentation.



You will be writing one paper with two sections, one containing your definition for a lay audience and the other containing your definition for a knowledgeable audience.  Each section should be double spaced and given a title that indicates what term will be defined and who it will be defined for.  Simply double or triple space between definitions.  Be sure to provide a title for each section.


On the first page of the paper, place your name, the date, the course # and section, and my name (all single spaced) at the top left of the page.  Double space down to the title (which should be centered), then double space again and begin the text.  All pages after the first should include a page number.



Approximately 300-400 words for each definition


Due Date:

Rough draft peer review: September 18th

Final draft:  September 20th


To Submit Your Assignment:

Complete the documents in your word processor and save them as a single Word file or rich text format (.rtf) file.  Attach the file using Blackboard’s Assignment feature.   (For more on how to do this, click on “Blackboard How To’s” button on the navigation bar.)  Name the file using your first initial and full last name, and the letters “def” (example:  pmadachydef.doc).