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HOW TO WRITE A DEFINITION?

adhistac
A technical writer by passion. Also, a Microsoft Student Partner 2016.
・2 min read

While writing a technical document, you start with a definition. The definition needs to clearly outline the term you are defining. Here are some ways you can use while defining a term;

An easy step to get started with a definition is to place a term into a classification and differentiate it from other terms for the same class. For instance,
The how-to article is a type of expository writing that delivers information on the structural way to perform a particular task to an audience.

The how-to article is a term, and expository writing is the classification.

Furthermore, you can add extensions to give precise meaning. For instance,
The how-to article is a type of expository writing that delivers information on the structural way to perform a particular task to an audience. Expository writing is a type of writing where the author intends to either inform or explain the subject to the reader.

"Expository writing is a type of writing where the author intends to either inform or explain the subject to the reader." is an extension.

In the case of defining a term with more than two meanings, you can use qualifiers. The qualifier is used when the general context needs to be established upfront. For instance,

  • Bug (Computing): An error in code, program, or system.
  • Bug (Biology): An insect.

In the aforementioned case, computing and biology are qualifiers.

As bonus information:

Process description vs. Mechanism description

A mechanism description delivers details about the physical attributes of a mechanism. A process description lists out the steps in the operation of a mechanism or focuses on the working of conceptual parts. Both are different in the context of content delivered.
Keep writing :)

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