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    Section 1: Drafting Definitions > Parenthetical and Sentence Definitions


L2: Parenthetical and Sentence Definitions
Definitions can be short or long, informal or formal. The three types of definitions are parenthetical, sentence, and extended. (Extended definitions are discussed in L3.)

Parenthetical Definitions
A parenthetical definition is a short explanation of a word or phrase placed unobtrusively in a sentence. Sometimes a parenthetical definition is itself only a word or short phrase.

    Burger King has been trying unsuccessfully for years to buy the equity stock (common stock) of McDonald's.

A parenthetical definition may also be a longer phrase or clause.

    His uncle sells municipal revenue bonds, bonds issued to finance projects that will eventually generate their own revenues, such as a toll bridge.

Sentence Definitions
A sentence definition is a one-sentence explanation of a word or phrase. Sentence definitions are useful when your readers require a more formal or more informative clarification than parenthetical definitions provide.

A sentence definition usually follows a standard pattern in which the item being defined is placed in a class or category of similar items and then distinguished from them.

    BASIC is a simple computer language, popularly used by students and microcomputer owners, in which line numbers precede each statement.

    An acoustic coupler is a modem that attaches to a telephone handset to transmit computer information over telephone lines.
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