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University Language Centre

Writing definitions

Learn about definitions and how you can relate the way that you define things to the structure of your writing. You'll also examine a variety of examples from academic subjects, and find out how to use the texts to improve your own writing.

The vocabulary for defining

Develop your familiarity with vocabulary needed to understand and produce definitions.

Defining and types of definition

Learn when to define and why you need to define. You will also compare two types of definition: general and technical.

Classifying and defining

Learn differences between defining and classifying, and identify examples in written text.

Differences between speaking and writing about definitions

Learn different types of language used for defining in both writing and speaking. You will also do some listening practice using a short discussion which involves defining and classifying.

Grammar points in definitions

Practise your editing skills, concentrating on the grammatical accuracy of the language of definitions.

Structuring a definition

Think about how writers organise definitions in 'defining activities'. You will also begin to develop a strategy for writing definitions.

Writing definitions

This page brings together the range of activities involved in defining and the language you will need when you write. You should now be familiar with the activities and you have read how writers put them into words.