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The Catholic University of America: Climate Change (Essay Sample)


Assignment 5: Definition                                                                              Due:  10/26


Part One:

Using a complex word that is central to your argument—for example, “womanhood,” in the article about Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner—define the term in your own words without the help of a dictionary. Then, compare your definition to the ones found in the Oxford English Dictionary (go to, click the “Databases” tab, and type in OED in the search bar.  It’s the second entry). What are significant problems or potential misunderstandings with your definition? With the OED’s?


Part Two:

Combine the best parts of each definition (yours and the OED’s) and write an improved definition—one that aims to overcome the flaws in the original definitions. What makes your super-definition so super? Despite its super-status, does it have any residual shortcomings, such as areas that could still be misunderstood or hypothetical situations where your definition might not hold up?


Part Three:

Using Parts One and Two as evidence (at least for your initial conclusion), what are some benefits and drawbacks of definitions? What are its problems and uses?


  1. Support with evidence.
  2. Challenge your conclusion.
  3. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


Grammar/Style: In your essay, highlight in bold one example of each of the following literary techniques:

  1. Varying sentence length. Look back over the Jenner article and note places where Burkett writes long sentences followed by short ones and vice versa.
  1. Parallelism. We looked at a number of places where Burkett used parallelism well. Imitate her techniques here.

Climate change
The Catholic University of America
Part one
Climate change refers to the significant shift in climate patterns caused by human activities, which affect the local and global climates. The Oxford English Dictionary describes Climate change  as , “an alteration in the regional or global climate; esp. the change in global climate patterns increasingly apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.” One of the problems with my description is that the variability in climate is attributed to human interference only and there is no mention whether the changes are short term or long-term. The OED definition emphasizes carbon dioxide emissions as the main cause of climate change, leaving out other anthropogenic emissions.
Part two
Climate changes then are the changes in climate patterns mainly resulting from human activities and anthropogenic emissions, but to also to a less extent natural causes, as evidenced by global warming and the acceleration of climate change since the 20th century. Scientists have also identified the effects of climate change and used scientific evidence to back up their claims on climates. However, it is not for the scientists alone to determine how climate change affects people’s lives if they rely too much on predictions. In any case, scientists have not been able to quantify the effect of greenhouse gases, because they use prediction models and make assumptions on how human activities have influenced climate change.
The new definition of climate change is supper than the previous two, since the alterations in cli...
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