Formal definitions have 3 parts:
Part 1 specifies what is being defined.
Part 2 says what category it belongs to.
Part 3 describes its essential features and main function.
A chair (part 1) is a type of furniture (part 2) that has a seat for sitting on, usually has 4 legs and a back (part 3).
Not all definitions are clear explanations of what something means. Some definitions are too narrow - they define something in a way that excludes many things. Other definitions are too broad - they are too general, and can be applied to many different things.
The text below focuses on the problems of defining words.
What is an economic recession?
The technical definition of an economic recession is "two quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product". If you don't know what "gross domestic product" means, then this definition won't help you.
Here's another definition:
A recession is defined as 'problems in the economy'.
This second definition may, at first, seem more helpful. For example, companies go bankrupt and workers lose their jobs. If companies go bankrupt and workers lose their jobs, does this mean we have a recession? No! These two things can also happen when there is no recession. This means that this second definition of a recession is too broad.
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